Cuadrilla and British Geological Survey bond over love of Leonard Cohen in embarrassing leaked emails

 

Senior Reporter

A A A

“Everybody knows that the dice are loaded,” runs the opening line of Leonard Cohen’s famous 1988 hit. Those bitterly pessimistic words, green campaigners claim, could now be applied to the extraction of shale gas under Lancashire.

The close relationship between the fracking company Cuadrilla and the British Geological Survey (BGS) has been revealed by a cache of emails in which executives discuss attending one of the Canadian songwriter’s concerts together.

The exchanges, between the private firm hoping to exploit the UK’s shale gas resources and the public body tasked with providing the Government with impartial advice on the safety of the controversial extraction technique, were made in the months leading up to the disclosure of the UK’s reserves last year.

The correspondence, which has been redacted to protect the identities of the employees involved, was obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by Greenpeace, which says it wants to “open up the relationship between energy companies and the Government”.

One email, sent by a Cuadrilla employee to a BGS staff member in March 2013, complains that the fracking firm has been hampered in its efforts to drill exploratory wells in Lancashire due to the large quantity of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) it has to complete. “We have basically been slapped with planning EIA after planning EIA just to drill a well,” they wrote, adding: “Hopefully we can catch up some time this year anyway for a beer.”

Engineers on the drilling platform of the Cuadrilla shale fracking facility in Preston (Getty) Engineers on the drilling platform of the Cuadrilla shale fracking facility in Preston (Getty)
Another email from Cuadrilla to the BGS in the same month describes how the firm’s representatives met a team of scientists from Durham University in which “the topic of media ignorance and incentive for oversimplification came up, as it always does”. Cuadrilla suggests working with the BGS and Durham academics to hold an “immersion experience” for journalists so they can be educated about fracking.

“I am sure we could stump up a fund from several sources to defray the cost,” the Cuadrilla employee writes. “The whole thing is non-commercial. No Cuadrillans in the room or any other actors.” Both the BGS and Durham agree that such an event would be a “good idea”, but in the end it never took place.

In July, the subject of the Leonard Cohen gig is discussed. “A def def yes for Leonard? If so I’ll get tix this week,” writes a BGS staff member to their contact at Cuadrilla, who politely declines the offer with the reply: “I’d better skip Leonard 50/50 chance I’ll be away.”

Displaying an impressive knowledge of Cohen’s back catalogue, Greenpeace UK energy campaigner Lawrence Carter said: “We don’t want to criticise work colleagues for attending Leonard Cohen gigs together, but now that Everybody Knows, let’s hope in The Future the BGS aren’t too Partisan to let Cuadrilla know when there are no Diamonds in the Mine.”

A spokesman for Cuadrilla said the company “doesn’t feel it is best placed to comment on the merits of seeing Leonard Cohen live”, but added: “We are happy to confirm that we do communicate appropriately with the British Geographical Society and relevant academic institutions as part of our exploration plans for shale gas.”

The BGS did not respond to a request for comment.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...

Recruitment Genius: Interactive / Mobile Developer

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - Midweight

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Recruitment Genius: Junior Front End Developer

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Day In a Page

Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

Tate Sensorium

New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

Remember Ashton Agar?

The No 11 that nearly toppled England
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks