Fracking report ex-President is Cuadrilla Chairman

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Today’s report is co-authored by the Royal Academy of Engineers. Cuadrilla Chairman Lord Browne was president of the RAE until last year

The report on fracking released today by the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAE) & the Royal Society omits a key consideration: the RAE’s ex-President is Lord Browne, Chairman of Cuadrilla, the UK’s leading fracker.

Lord Browne was head of the RAE – co-author of the report – until last year. Browne owns 30% of Cuadrilla and works inside government as a non-executive director to the Cabinet Office.

The RAE is also part funded by the oil and gas industry. In the last three years the RAE has taken £601,000 from ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and Petrofac (an oil services company) – all of whom have links to fracking (see the RAE’s financial reports here). Robert Mair, the Chairman of the report, is a fellow of the RAE.

In 1992 the RAE awarded a £50,000 prize to 2 BP engineers for their advances in hydraulic fracturing (see p5 here).

The influence of the oil and gas industry on the RAE has not decreased with Lord Browne’s departure. His successor – Sir John Parker – is also a scion of the fracking industry. Before taking over at the RAE, Parker headed Anglo American, which has fracking interests in in South Africa. Parker is a gas man through and through – some of his previous positions include non-executive director at British Gas, Chairman of National Grid Transco (gas & electricity distribution) and non-executive of BG Group (which has coal bed methane interests in Scotland).

The UK government is following a familiar path of dressing up vested interests as impartial advice. In April a government-named panel of ‘experts’ recommended fracking continue – despite concerns over earthquakes.  One of the panel was a member of the British Geological Survey, which is partly funded by companies involved in the hydraulic fracturing industry, including Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon, BG Group and Schlumberger.

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