Who is Fracking the UK?


A Chinese state owned oil firm, CNOOC, linked by human rights organisations to allegations of rights violations in Tibet and Myanmar (Burma) is an investor in the UK’s onshore drilling industry – according to an analysis of publicly available data by Energydesk.

The oil giant, which completed its acquisition of global oil and gas firm Nexen in February has also been linked to oil spills in the South China Sea.

The company it holds a stake in, Igas, has an interest in a license area which includes chancellor George Osbornes constituency.

Igas is one of the largest holders UK drilling rights alongside fellow unconventional gas explorers Dart, Cuadrilla, Viking and Coal Mine Methane firm Alkane. CNOOC is also linked to Cuadrillas co-owner, AJ Lucas through a Hong-Kong based investment fund.

The ownership of many of the firms proved impossible to verify as the full list of share owners was obscured by large nominee share holdings through financial institutions. One firm, Viking, is owned by an investment division of Barclays.

The latest development comes as the UK’s onshore gas industry enters a period of rapid change – thanks to the prospect of tax breaks and exploratory drilling licenses for unconventional gas.

Whilst global energy giants including BP have suggested that UK shale gas will not be a ‘game changer’, smaller firms – many from Australia, Asia and Canada – and some UK aspiring gas barons have taken an interest in the UKs relatively low-cost exploratory drilling licenses

This means they would be amongst the first to benefit from any profits in the industry.

The UK’s Department Of Energy and Climate change (DECC) has made significant efforts to make all license and block ownership information public and their data, showing ever UK onshore drilling license and its owner, is now available on a Google Map here.

2 thoughts on “Who is Fracking the UK?

  1. James

    There is no unconventional gas drilling planned or existing in south wales, or Llandow (as it looks like on your diagram). Get your facts right yeah?


  2. swanseaandllanelligreenparty Post author

    Hi James,
    Thanks for reading.
    Not my diagram; Greenpeace’s. However, you are getting into the realm of semantics making your point. There are wells planned to be drilled into unconventional gas reserves for ‘exploratory’ purposes only at this stage. This is very much with a view to unconventional gas production in due course. So the diagram is fine, in my opinion. You would however have been correct to say there have been no planning applications submitted for unconventional gas production as yet.
    Can I assume that you are as relieved as the rest of us that ther is no production on the immediate horizon?




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s