Barclays to Sell Fracking Company, Says Decision Does Not Change Stance on Shale Gas

Barclays building

Campaigners are celebrating Barclays’ announcement that it will sell its stake in fracking company Third Energy “in due course”. But the company said its overall stance on fracking has not changed.

Until recently, a Barclays subsidiary owned 97 percent stake of the small Yorkshire company, which has a license to frack just south of the North York Moors national park. Its stake is currently about 78 percent, according to a report by consultancy Profundo.

At the bank’s annual general meeting last week, its chairman John McFarlane confirmed Barclays' plans to ultimately sell the subsidiary that owns the Third Energy stake. Environmental campaign group People and Planet said this would be a “huge victory”.

Barclays has been targeted by campaigners for backing fracking companies and continuing to invest in fossil fuel projects, such as the Dakota Access Pipeline and Cerrejón coal mine in Colombia.

Hannah Smith co-director of research and campaigns at People and Planet told DeSmog UK that Third Energy, like other fracking companies including Cuadrilla in Lancashire, have “not become a profitable investment” due to local opposition, which delays companies' progress.

“It looks like [Third Energy] are struggling to turn a profit, which shows this is a campaign local communities are winning,” she said.

Steve Mason of local campaign group Frack Free Ryedale said in a press release: “Clearly fracking is a bad investment environmentally, socially and financially.”

He continued: “Where is the long term future of this industry? Why would you put money into an industry that is increasingly rejected by communities and could get banned at anytime?”

A spokesperson for Barclays, however, told DeSmog UK that the chairman’s comments did not mean the bank has changed its stance on fracking.

They said Barclays would sell the subsidiary that owns part of Third Energy because the investment was not part of the bank’s “core business strategy”, and was not “a business priority”. There was no timeframe for the sale, they said.

Updated 15/05/2017: The percentage ownership of Third Energy by Barclays was updated. The third and final paragraphs were also updated for clarity.

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Main image credit: Gideon Banari via Flickr CC BY 2.0