Last week it was announced that Roy Franklin OBE, age 61, had been appointed as the new Chairman of Cuadrilla Resources. Franklin originally joined the board of Cuadrilla Resources back in 2012.
Unlike Lord Browne (his predecessor who has now joined Russian firm L1 Energy), it seems he is not well known in the UK government. He is also not big in celebrity circles or active on social media.
Franklin graduated with a degree in Geology in 1973 from the University of Southampton. He now funds some undergraduate and post-graduate research there. After graduating, he worked his way up through BP for 18 years.
Striking it Rich, Pal
After BP, in 1991, he became the managing director of Clyde Petroleum and in 1997 he became chief executive of Paladin Resources.
Paladin specialised in buying used fields and re-exploiting them with new technology. Paladin became very successful and was eventually bought for £1.2billion in 2005. The Daily Telegraph reported that Franklin had made a net gain of £10 million from the sale, and the Sun ran with the headline “Striking it Rich, Pal”.
Since then, Franklin has gone on to hold directorships on several company boards and has also been part of government bodies like PILOT (formerly the Oil and Gas task force) which facilitates partnerships between the industry and government. And in 2004, he was awarded the OBE for services to the UK oil and gas industry.
A Well-Connected Man
Franklin's current appointments show that he is well recognised in the global oil and gas industry:
- Member of the executive board of Kerogen Capital since 2011. It is an independent private equity fund specialising in the international oil and gas sector. It is also a major investor in Australian fracking company AJ Lucas, which in turn, owns 44 percent of Cuadrilla Resources.
- Director of Australian oil and gas company Santos since 2006. Santos has used fracking technology in Australia and has spoken out against inquiries into fracking, saying they would put investment at risk.
- Non-executive chairman at Keller since 2007: one of the world’s biggest ground engineering companies.
- Board member of Austrian-based OMV Aktiengesellschaft ; : an international oil and gas company with projects all over the world.
While he is not as intertwined in the UK government as Lord Browne was, it seems that Roy Franklin is strategically very well positioned in the industry to give Cuadrilla the drive it needs to fight against the intense public scrutiny it is currently facing.
His appointment comes as Greenpeace warns of an election “shake up” in Lancashire, where more than a third of local voters say they are less inclined to vote for candidates backing fracking. Last week, it was revealed that the much-anticipated decision on whether to allow Cuadrilla planning permission to explore for shale gas in Lancashire has been delayed until after the general election.
Photo: Justin Woolford via Flickr