Natural Gas Drilling Rig Stormed by Anti-Fracking Protesters


This morning nine people, from the national anti- fracking network from Frack Off, have halted work at Cuadrilla Resources drilling site in Hesketh Bank, Lancashire. They ran on to the Fracking site early this morning and scaled the drilling rig using climbing equipment. They aim to sit on top of the drilling rig for as long as possible to stop the drilling.

The action is aimed at highlighting the hypocrisy behind the ‘Shale Gas Environmental Summit’ starting today in London: a conference sponsored by a host of companies involved in the oil and gas industry who are trying to spin the rapid expansion into the untapped fossil fuel as ‘green’ [1].

Campaigners are acting in support of the ‘Frack Mob’ mass action happening outside the summit at 3pm later today [2].

Both actions aim to counter the PR offensive of the shale gas industry and bring public attention to the harm fracking has been linked to.

Hydraulic Fracturing, or ‘fracking’ is a controversial method of natural gas extraction, in which a mixture of water, sand and chemicals is injected into the ground at high pressure, cracking shale rock and releasing the gas [3]. It has been the subject of much contention due to numerous reports linking the method to water contamination, health problems and earthquakes [4]. The industry is in its infancy in the UK, and there are plans for up to 800 wells in Lancashire alone [5].

Jenny Boykin, a spokesperson for Frack Off, said “Fracking uses huge amounts of water mixed with toxic chemicals, a large fraction of which are never recovered. The fracking fluid also leaches chemicals like arsenic out of the rocks when it is used making it even more toxic and so the fluid that is recovered becomes a big disposal problem. The contamination of irrigation water means that everyone’s food supplies could potentially be affected. Fracking in the United States has already resulted in numerous spills of these fluids.”

Colin Eastman, one of the climbers, said, “Conventional fossil fuels have begun to run out and the system is moving towards more extreme forms of energy like fracking, tar sands, and deep water drilling. The move towards ‘extreme energy’ is literally scrapping the bottom of the barrel, sucking the last most difficult to reach fossil fuels from the planet at a time when we should be rapidly reducing our consumption altogether and looking for sustainable alternatives. In the UK fracking for shale gas is planned alongside, not instead of, extraction of conventional fossil fuels like coal.”

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[1] Environmental summit details:

[2] press release for the frack mob:

[3] short film explaining what fracking is: