Hearts were in mouths at Cuadrilla. Not because of an upsurge in local oppostion at it’s latest drill site in Lancashire (in the shape of Camp Frack). Nor because of yet more protesters at the announcement of its Lancashire test results.
No: management were quaking in their steel toe caps because principal investor AJ Lucas was running out of money.
So the timing of Cuadrilla’s press conference yesterday announcing 400 wells in Lancashire was no co-incidence. Cuadrilla is dragging AJ Lucas out of its financial hole.
AJ Lucas has obviously been showing advance copies of the test results to investors. And this has borne results – two days ago Hong Kong’s Kerogen Investments threw the company a financial lifeline to the tune of AUS$150m.
Cuadrilla is saying none of this publicly. Which is worrying because a hidden motivation behind Cuadrilla’s test results is evident: they had to be good or else AJ Lucas would be in trouble.
It’s worth noting the power that AJ Lucas has within Cuadrilla. The Australians have three directors on Cuadrilla’s board, including AJ Lucas CEO and executive director, Allan Campbell.
Campbell was the man fronting the urgent search for new cash: Cuadrilla’s potential will have been his main selling point when talking to new investors. Consequently Campbell would have been desperate that Cuadrilla’s results were good.
So when Cuadrilla executives talk of trillions of cubic feet of gas reserves it’s worth bearing in mind that the principal motivation has been to bail a troubled company out of a hole. Convincing a skeptic public comes next.