In this final instalment of the Gerwyn Llewellyn Williams timeline, Gerwyn and Eden part ways, Gerwyn takes over a pizza company and turns it into a gas investment vehicle, and Gerwyn goes overboard in his hype for Welsh shale gas prospects (scuppered by Eden’s pull-out, saying it’s not worth the bother)…
Will Gerwyn manage to scrap together the cash to drill in the 11 Welsh sites where he has permission, plus fulfil his Government licence obligation to drill across the Forest of Dean, Somerset, Wilts and Dorset?
Will his luxury dream palace in Porthcawl ever get finished? Will he just p*** off and leave us and the planet alone?
Watch this space…
Jan 2012 Global Brands SA goes through a demerger to transfer assets and liabilities to Domino Pizza Switzerland and becomes an investment company in oil and gas industry.
[The timeline of Global Brands SA/ Infinity Energy SA has been pieced together incorporating shareholder chats in the public domain, and documents published by Infinity Energy SA (formerly known as Global Brands SA).]
“So, for me, getting an equal stake in the Domino Pizza master franchise-owning private co is merely a bonus for the bottom drawer. Might come good one day, might not but I don’t really care because, as I say, I’m anticipating very good things from the new, clean, O&G investing company as and when we discover who is behind the “rescue” of the listing and their purpose for doing so.” [Steddieeddie]
“Agreed Steddie, exciting times ahead, oil exploration anyone?” [Mr Hangman]
Share chat, January 2012.
A public inquiry will be held in May after the firm’s bid to test drill at Llandow Industrial Estate was unanimously rejected by the Vale of Glamorgan’s planning committee last year.
But a team of Texas scientists yesterday announced it had concluded fracking cannot be linked directly to reports of groundwater contamination.
The scientists found many problems attributed to fracking are common to all oil and gas drilling systems. Many reports of contamination could be traced to above-ground spills or mishandling of wastewater rather than the fracking technique itself, they said.
Coastal Oil and Gas director Gerwyn Williams welcomed the findings and said he was confident May’s inquiry would rule in his favour, while opponents dismissed the claims as energy industry “propaganda”.
Coastal Oil and Gas is working with two solicitors and a planning consultant to prepare its case for the inquiry, while local residents fighting the plans – who formed the Vale Says No! campaign – are raising funds to hire a barrister.
Mr Williams said: “This supports not only our view, but also the view of the UK Government which, after putting in a huge amount of research, came to the same conclusion.
“About 96% of fracking fluid is water, the other 4% is chemicals – the majority of which are used in food products.
“This is absolute proof of what we have been saying all along.”
Bridgend Greens spokesman Andy Chyba dismissed the findings and said the researchers had direct links to the oil and gas industry, adding: “There are infinitely more experts who have more credibility.
“At the end of the day it’s a case of do we take a prudent course or just roll the dice and hope we get luck?
“We are talking about things sooner or later going catastrophically wrong somewhere in South Wales. There are no assurances that this is a safe process.
Western Mail article, February 2012, said by Green Leftie blog/ Andy Chyba to be fuel to the propaganda war
March 2012: Global Brands announces the company had raised £280,000 in shares – of this £230,000 has been invested “in line with the new investing policy” while £50,000 is expected to be used for general corporate purposes.
In 2012, Gerwyn transferred 30 of his shares in UKOG to Shelagh (meaning he now has 60 and she has 31 shares). UKOG revealed in its accounts to the end of August 2012 it had £27,613 at the bank and in hand but shareholders’ funds were at MINUS £1,357 (in 2013 the figures were £27,166 and MINUS £1,639 respectively)
May 2012: Public inquiry lost against Coastal’s plans to drill for shale gas in Llandow, Vale of Glamorgan, following Coastal appeal against the council’s planning refusal.
South Western Energy comes into existence, as does South Wales Energy
May 2012: Adamo moves away from the office it shares with UK Onshore Gas to a London address.
2012 Adamo accounts show total assets less current liabilities at £1,594,061 but shareholders’ funds at MINUS £96,564.
September 2012: Gerwyn Williams, representing UK Methane Limited, meets with members of Transition Keynsham, to discuss plans for CBM exploration in the Mendips and Somerset
UK Methane Ltd’s planning application to “Drill and test the permeability of the coal and associated strata at land on the south east side of Hick’s Gate, Durley Hill, Keynsham” was submitted to Bath & North East Somerset Council on 27.9.2012.
UK Methane say that they see the use of CBM as a bridging fuel to alleviate the potential energy shortfall after 2015.
UK Methane’s intention is rapid development of CBM sites to meet this energy shortfall…
UK Methane have generated computer models of the likely locations of methane bearing coal strata in the Bristol and North Somerset area. There is a lack of historical information on the coal strata in this area. UK Methane have used data from the British Geological Survey and British Coal, but as most historical coal mining in this area took place in the upper coal measures there is little information on the lower coal levels. This is the reason why UK Methane want to drill exploratory boreholes so they can ascertain the amount of methane that may be available lower down. UK Methane think it worth exploring in this area as the coal seams of Somerset are similar to some of those in South Wales. UK Methane consider there is potential for methane in the Ashton Great Coal seams which lie at a depth of about 600-1000 metres in the Keynsham area. South of the licence areas the coal strata is very badly faulted, the implication appeared to be that methane extraction was unlikely as a result of this.
UK Methane stated that they only intend to drill within the coal measures in Keynsham.
A planning application is submitted to the council to do a test bore.
A drilling rig about 12 metres high is used to drill a 12” vertical borehole down which steel lining with a 9” outside diameter is inserted. The lining sections are 8-9 feet long and they are screwed together at the surface before being lowered into the borehole. The surrounding gap between the borehole and lining is filled with cement, the inside diameter of the steel liner is 8”
The materials used during the drilling of the borehole are identical to those used for drilling water boreholes.
Waste extracted during the drilling is put in skips and removed by a licensed waste contractor.
Any water that comes up through the borehole is initially removed off site by tanker and treated until the quality of it is established.
The test borehole is used to obtain samples of coal which are tested for methane content.
UK Methane expected the test borehole to take 2-3 months to complete.
During test boring about 15 people would be directly employed on the site.
UK Methane stated that they would be governed by the Environment Agency on noise levels created during test boring.
If there are insufficient levels of methane to make extraction economic then the borehole is filled with concrete and abandoned.
If methane extraction is considered economic then a second planning application has to be made to permit methane extraction.
A further hole at an angle of about 60 degrees is drilled into the coal, from the bottom of this borehole, holes up to 400 metres along are driven horizontally into the coal measures to collect the methane.
The gas is trapped under pressure in microfractures within the coal, lowering the pressure in the surrounding area allows the gas to flow out. The pressure is lowered by extracting water, though if the coal seam is dry, the gas can still flow out. Gas flow may be encouraged through the injection of nitrogen.
Monitoring of conditions at the wellhead is automated, 24 hour security is provided on site (unclear from notes if this is human or CCTV).
Initial use of the gas would be to produce electricity which would be fed into the national grid. This though is not the most efficient or cost effective use and is done to help UK Methane’s cash flow at the beginning of operations. Their preferred option is feeding into the local gas grid at the nearby gas pumping station owned by Wales and West Utilities. UK Methane will be able to make more money out of feeding methane to the gas grid than from producing electricity from it.
Additional methane producing boreholes would be drilled 2-3 miles apart in areas where methane production was considered economic…
… Reference was made by Ian Wright to documentation of problems in the Australian CBM industry. UK Methane said that the UK industry was far more tightly regulated than in Australia…
UK Methane and its related companies are not involved with fracking at present.
They may at a later date consider extraction of shallow shale gas involving fracking and may use fracking in the Kent coalfield where the conditions are different from those in Somerset.
They do not consider that fracking is necessary in the next 2-3 years to extract CBM around Keynsham but cannot promise that they wouldn’t move onto fracking after this.
They have no intention of using the cavitation method for methane extraction now or in the future, instead relying on horizontal boreholes as mentioned in the production section.
UK Methane do not see themselves as at the cutting edge of technology and would be using fracking methods developed by other companies.
Notes from Transition Keynsham meeting with UK Methane/ Gerwyn Williams, September 2012 (Frack Free Somerset website)
UK Methane Ltd withdrew the Keynsham application on 20.12.2012. The reason they gave to B&NES Council was that the level of information that was being requested was far higher than that for any other previous planning application that they had been involved with in other parts of the country. UK Methane said that for the extra amount of work that was involved, they would apply for a “full production permission” which would include shale gas. They referred to the Government’s moratorium on fracking that had been lifted recently.
Bridgend-based UK Methane Ltd wants to drill three boreholes at the disused St John’s Colliery, Maesteg, in the hope of finding gas reserves.
But environmental campaigners, politicians and people living in the Llynfi Valley fear the plans are a precursor to shale gas extraction through hydraulic fracturing – or “fracking”…
…The company is not looking to start fracking operations at the site through the latest planning application submitted to Bridgend council, but will be drilling boreholes between 130 and 300 metres deep to try to find gas reserves.
However, Andy Chyba, chairman of the Bridgend Green Party, said, if successful, the application could pave the way for future fracking. He said: “There is the potential for seismic activity – that is a significant threat to the valleys of South Wales. It’s quite heavily fractured already so it’s going to be difficult to protect against possible seismic effects.”
His fears were echoed by South Wales West’s Liberal Democrat AM Peter Black, who has written to Bridgend council expressing his disapproval.
Gerwyn Williams, a director of UK Methane, said the proposed extraction method was “totally different” to fracking. He pointed to a similar operation where gas is extracted from the old Ffaldau and Garw collieries in Pontycymer.
“It’s as simple a form of drilling you can have,” he said. “As far as this exercise is concerned, this is only a drill into the abandoned mine working to extract methane.” But Mr Williams refused to rule out future fracking at the site.
A businessman who owns the main licence to drill for gas in south Wales, has welcomed Chancellor George Osborne’s commitment to exploring new ways of plugging the UK’s energy gap.
Gerwyn Williams of Coastal Oil and Gas Ltd says initial test results estimate £120bn worth of gas could be recovered in one area of south Wales alone.
But methods of extracting the gas are hugely controversial.
BBC TV Wales report, December 2012 (it reports analysis has been carried out at five Welsh drilling sites by Texas-based RPS Consultancy)
The in-house team of biostratigraphers have over 200 years cumulative global experience, with particular expertise in the North Sea, West of Shetlands, the West African margin, the Southern Atlantic, North Africa, East Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe/Black Sea, the Caspian and the Indian sub-continent. We provide detailed well-log sequence stratigraphic interpretations (the recognition of maximum flooding surfaces, sequence boundaries etc.) on wells analysed, offer wellsite biostratigraphic services (including acid and acid-free palynological analysis) and have comprehensive in-house laboratory facilities.
What we provide
Detailed, integrated post-well micropalaeontological, nannofossil and palynological analysis of exploration, appraisal and development wells
Palaeobathymetric and depositional interpretations
Integrated regional and basinal review studies
Worldwide offshore and onshore well site analysis / biosteering
Slope stability studies to aid site investigation services
Training for state oil companies / majors / public institutions
Laboratory biostratigraphic processing for clients
Link to RPS Group, which has global involvement in all aspects of the oil and gas industry (and also has a base near Chepstow).
Drilling would take place [at Maesteg] between 8am and 6pm seven days a week and would take seven weeks to complete.
Access to the site, on land adjacent to the former St John’s colliery, would be via Heol Faen.
UK Methane said: “The proposal does not involve any hydraulic fracturing (‘fracking’) as this process is only associated with shale gas extraction.”
Responding to borough council consultation, Maesteg town council objected to the proposals on grounds of noise disturbance, wildlife and maintenance of footpaths.
Residents of Upper Street, St Michael’s Road, Ffos Farm, Cwm du Ganol Farm and Bryndefaid Farm all raised concerns about the plans. Their objections included health concerns, water contamination, impact on wildlife and footpaths, potential ‘fracking’, noise and light pollution, access and earthquakes.
In a report to be considered by councillors today, planning supremo Louise Fradd mentions that no fracking would take place.
She is recommending the controversial plans for approval despite the torrent of public opposition.
Daily Post report, January 2013
The applicants in this case are UK Methane, who are the same few people as Coastal Oil & Gas, who have put through a similar small scale CBM project at Cwmcedfyw Farm, near Llangynwyd. The grandiose sounding names of these companies hide the fact they are tiny companies consisting of Mr Gerwyn Williams and a couple of his mates. They do not own any resources; having to bring in Sunderland based contractors, Drillcorp, to drill at Cwmcedfyw, with labour picked up on route from Liverpool.These small scale projects are not really what they are about. It is a tactical approach used by the infamous Cuadrilla company in Lancashire, and other companies elsewhere. They undertake a couple of small, relatively innocuous methane projects (there are still serious issues over water contamination) to try and convince local people, and local planning departments, that they are not up to anything worth worrying about and that they can be trusted. With peoples guards down, they then sneak through applications for their real target shale gas that will require the use of the deep fracking techniques that have proven to be unreliable and the bringer of dire consequences (sooner or later, but inevitably) to local people and their environments.
Be under no illusion as to what Gerwyn and his cronies are up to. They are not very clever at disguising their intentions. Down at Llandow, their initial bungled application clearly stated shale gas at the target. As soon as the locals rose up and organised opposition (the Vale Says No! Campaign group) they resubmitted trying to pretend they were only really interested in conventional sandstone oil/gas. Pathetic. At St Johns Colliery, they successfully sneaked an application through to target the deep lying shales in January 2011, before we caught on to what they are up to. They again brought Drillcorp in to do that test borehole, but my understanding is that they had to abandon it because Drillcorps equipment was not up to the job.
Gerwyn is getting on a bit. Speculating on unconventional gas is his pension plan, I believe. He has picked up licences to explore for resources for very little investment (just a few thousand pounds) in South Wales, the Mendips and Kent. By undertaking some test drilling and conjuring up fanciful figures for the potential resource, he will look to sell on his licences at substantial profit and disappear into the sunset well before the frackers roll in and wreak their havoc.
There are now local opposition groups springing up across South Wales , and in order to share knowledge and resources we have recently seen FRACK-FREE WALES launched in Cardiff, which in turn belongs to a national (and increasingly international) network e.g. FRACK OFF and the ANTI-FRACKING NETWORK. We are watching them closely, but even with all the immense time, energy and effort of the fractivists, we still desperately need the general public to wake up to what is at stake. It needs to become a major political issue with peoples votes at stake, because this is the biggest threat to face the people of South Wales (and other threatened regions) for a generation at least…
Just for clarity – UK Methane is the same tiny band of speculators that are behind Coastal Oil & Gas – they are both based in the same small un-manned office on Bridgend Industrial Estate.
Andy Chyba, letter to newspapers, January 2013
Feb 2013 John Page Killer, from the US shale gas industry (and formerly North Sea and Africa oil/gas) replaces Simon Bentley on Global Brands SA‘s board of directors
Mar 2013: New investing policy includes “farm-ins” and “earn-ins” for oil/gas operators (ie providing finance to oil/gas operators).
“The Company is an investing company as defined by the AIM Rules of the London Stock Exchange. Its investing policy is to make investments and acquisitions, either through the issues of securities or for cash, in quoted and non-quoted companies and their securities, in the commodities sector with an emphasis on oil and gas and oil and gas service sectors. Such investments include the provision of financing by way of farm-ins, earn-ins, loans, equity or other forms of financing and investments in and to companies in these sectors”
Global Brands SA statement
Williams is revealed as the majority shareholder, with 29.3%, in Global Brands SA.
Among its first investments is £150,000 into UK Methane and Coastal Oil and Gas Limited (Gerwyn Williams’ company), funneled through a private limited company, Gas Exploration Financing.
In 2013, Gerwyn officially changed his occupation to “consultant engineer” (from electrical engineer).
“Take Gerwyn Williams, a serial Welsh energy entrepreneur based in Bridgend. Companies house shows he has 18 current directorships has resigned from a further 17 boards and been a director of seven companies which have been dissolved. One of his companies, Coastal Oil and Gas, is owned by Thistle Gas which is owned by UK Onshore Gas. This company, in turn, owns UK Methane, which is looking to explore for shale gas in the Welsh valleys and near Bath.”
The Guardian, March 2013
March 2013: At the same time as Gas Exploration Financing was launched to fund UK Onshore Gas and its subsidiaries, Shale Energy PLC and Shale Acquisition Limited were incorporated and immediately launched a bid to raise up to £10m capital to buy Eden’s UK portfolio.
March 2013: Independent auditor expresses concern at Adamo’s ability to continue as a going concern.
April 2013: Gerwyn sole director of Air Nation Limited
An Australian company has agreed to sell the shale gas and coal seam methane exploration licences it holds in Wales as well as parts of England for £10m.
Perth-based Eden Energy announced to the Australian Stock Exchange that its entire UK portfolio would be sold to unlisted UK public company Shale Energy PLC.
If completed, the sale increases the prospects that full-scale fracking operations will soon begin at sites in Wales. The controversial extraction technique involves detonating explosives deep underground to release gas locked in rock.
Eden Energy shares licences to explore about 1,000sq km in Wales, stretching from Swansea to Llantwit Major, with Bridgend-based Coastal Oil and Gas Ltd.
The conditional heads of terms deal is worth £10.061m. The deal consists of a cash payment of £750,000 and £6m in shares of Shale Energy, which is planning to list on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange.
The £3.25m balance will be payable in two equal tranches of £1.62m on the independently verified best estimate of recoverable gas of 500 billion cubic feet (bcf) and secondly when the estimate reaches one trillion cubic feet (tcf).
The sale comprises Eden’s 50% joint venture interests in 17 Petroleum and Development Licences (PEDLs) in Wales and England and its 100% stake in a further three PEDLs in Wales.
In June 2011, Eden Energy commissioned US consultants RPS Group to investigate the potential shale gas reserves in the numurian measures of about 800sq km beneath Wales.
RPS Group found the region could hold 34 trillion cubic feet of gas, of which 12.8 trillion cubic feet is classified as recoverable.
If the estimates prove correct, the amount is equivalent to four years of the UK’s gas consumption. In 2009, the UK used a total of 3.6 trillion cubic feet of gas.
The estimated coal seam gas in Eden Energy’s 10 PEDLS in South Wales is 980 billion cubic feet of gas.
Coastal Oil and Gas Ltd director Gerwyn Williams said he had no plans to sell his share of the licences.
Mr Williams said his firm would continue to be the operators of the licences, with the company awaiting the outcome of five planning applications to test drill across Bridgend, Vale of Glamorgan and Rhondda Cynon Taf.
Mr Williams said he hoped to test drill in the autumn, possibly at Llandow Industrial Estate. If successful, further planning permission would be needed to commercially extract the gas reserves.
“We are not selling our part, it just means the other 50% will have a different owner,” he said.
“I am not in this for short-term money, I am here to make this work. I want to make it work for everyone.
“I cannot tell you anything about the new owner, we are not party to that, but they will have to be approved by DECC (Department of Energy & Climate Change).”
South Wales Central’s Conservative AM Andrew RT Davies, who is opposed to shale gas exploration in the Vale of Glamorgan, said any doubt over the ownership of the licences must be resolved quickly.
“This is a large sum of money by anyone’s standards, especially given there are no proven reserves. I believe this is the market responding to the demand for shale gas in other parts of the world, particularly North America,” the Welsh Conservatives leader said.
The stock exchange announcement says Shale Energy was incorporated to pursue shale gas opportunities and has been examining possible projects in the USA for the past few years.
The heads of terms, the statement by Eden Energy’s executive chairman Greg Solomon adds, is conditional upon a number of matters, including Shale Energy completing a further capital raising of £5m as a pre-introduction to listing on the stock exchange.
The purchasing entity will be Shale Acquisition Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Shale Energy.
According to documents lodged with Companies House, Shale Energy was incorporated on March 20 this year and its registered address is a London law firm.
The papers were lodged by Sean Blackwell, who is a director of five companies, which include Shale Gas Poland Ltd and Shale Gas Europe Ltd.
Attempts to contact another director, Kevin Newman, of East Sussex, were unsuccessful.
May 2013: Global switches currency from Swiss to British
“The market is going crazy trying to get into shale gas, Global Brands now has exposure through 17 licences. GEF [Gas Exploration Financing Ltd] has a framework financing agreement (“Framework Agreement”) with Coastal Oil and Gas Limited and UK Methane Limited (together, the “Gas Companies”). The Gas Companies have an ownership interest in 17 petroleum exploration development licences in South Wales, Bristol and Kent with the right to explore and drill for shale gas in the licence areas. Under the Framework Agreement, the Gas Companies have appointed GEF, on a non-exclusive basis, to co-invest by financing their exploration and development operations. In consideration for this co-investment, GEF will receive an economic interest commensurate with the proportion of drilling expenses covered through the funding received from GEF. Coastal Oil & Gas Limited targets overlooked, often challenging, resources with the potential for transformation through the application of both proven and emerging technologies. The company has acquired an initial portfolio of production, development, appraisal and exploration assets with significant growth potential. Initial production comes from Coastal’s interest in the Avington field in Hampshire. In addition, Coastal has interests in the Waddock Cross appraisal project in Dorset and the Formby redevelopment outside Liverpool… “
“UK Methane Ltd, Unit C, Kenfig Industrial Estate, Port Talbot, SA13 2TJ. Website: None. Investors: Unknown. Licences: PEDL 214, 215 (South Wales), 226, 227, 228 (Somerset). Planning on getting permission for test sites in Somerset, potentially in the Mendip Hills near Bath. It is thought that UK Methane Ltd are run by the same group that runs Coastal Oil & Gas Ltd, Unit 9, Bridgend Business Centre, Bridgend, Mid Glamorgan CF31 3SH. Website: None. Investors: Unknown. Licences: PEDL 216, 217, 218, 219, 220 (South Wales), 249, 250, 251, 252 (Kent). Coastal Oil & Gas initially submitted a planning application to test drill for shale gas in Llandow; following local opposition, the company pulled the application in April 2011. However, in late August 2011, they resubmitted the bid. Coastal are also keen to conduct test drills on land in its Kent licences, in fields near Sandwich, and submitted a planning application in April 2011 which is still awaiting a decision. (Still Waiting)
Fair enough. Now then, do they have any ‘permitted’ drill-sites and do they have any cash? (2baffled)
Backed by Australia’s Eden Energy so cash not an issue. (Still Waiting)
Yep, still looking to see if GBR’s [Global Brands’] funding of the shale drills will give an equity stake in Shale Energy rather than an “economic interest”. Interestingly Shale Energy PLC was incorporated at the same time GBR came back!!! (Still Waiting)
So we now know 50% of Shale Energy is worth £10m. Coastal Oil and Gas Ltd director Gerwyn Williams said he had no plans to sell his share of the licences. Mr Williams said his firm would continue to be the operators of the licences, with the company awaiting the outcome of five planning applications to test drill across Bridgend, Vale of Glamorgan and Rhondda Cynon Taf. (Still Waiting)
Share investors chat, June 2013
Gerwyn Williams: We have already drilled six exploration wells in south Wales, and we have drilled one production well. From those wells, we have had a lot of information on the rocks in south Wales. There are various layers in the coalfield. There are coal layers, and, briefly, below those there are sets of numurian shales and potential for conventional gas in the Devonian measures, and then below that, there is more shale potential in the Silurian shales. We sent the results to two consultants; one in Dallas in the US, to look at shale, called RPS, and information on coalbed methane to RISC in Perth, Australia. From these initial wells, they came up with the potential resource of nearly 50 trillion cu ft of shale gas in one part of one set of the shales—
Q105 Chair: Did you say 50 trillion cu ft of shale gas in one set of shale in one part of Wales?
Gerwyn Williams: Yes.
Chair: We use about 3 trillion cu ft a year in the whole of the UK.
Gerwyn Williams: Yes. We worked on 3.5 trillion cu ft, and they estimated that 18.7 trillion cu ft is recoverable. That is just the start of it all.
Q106Chair: That is just one small part of one set of the shales.
Gerwyn Williams: Yes. That is just one part of one set of the shales.
At the moment, we are focusing on exploration. We cannot really answer your question until we do the exploration work. We have another set of wells to drill; one in Swansea, one in Port Talbot, four in the Vale of Glamorgan and one near Llantrisant. They will give us a much better picture. The Vale wells will give us a better picture of the potential for conventional gas in the Devonian measures. The Llantrisant well will give us a better picture of numerian shales and the eastern wells will give us a better picture of Silurian potential, which has not been drilled. So, I suppose that the answer to your question is that there is an enormous amount of gas in south Wales. I have spent my life in the mining industry. I worked for 22 years for British Coal and then in private mines; they have all gone, but the energy source is still there, and in my view, we should be exploiting it…
“In south Wales, the majority of the area where the licences are is forested plateau, mainly north of the south Valleys. Most of that plateau is owned by Natural Resources Wales, which was the Forestry Commission, so it is Welsh Government-owned, and we can be up in the forest, drilling directionally under common ownership, without affecting the public at all.
In terms of water management and tanker movements et cetera, just to go back a little, we are working closely with a company in Newport, trying to establish what we call a closed-loop system for water, where we will drill for water on-site. We have built a 67,000 litre inflatable tank, which will go up to 100,000 litres, and we have a filtration system, so we should be able to produce water, store it, take it back out and clean it up on-site and, with a discharge licence, put it back, which will absolutely minimise tanker movements. It will not get rid of them altogether, but you are not going to see, in the future, trains of water tankers coming in and out of drill sites…
“We are drilling a long way below the coal—well, we are not, actually, because we are drilling in the coal. At this stage, we are not drilling for shale, we are drilling to explore for shale. In the short term, we have no intention to hydraulically frack. The intention of our company is to develop coalbed methane first, and that is what we are trying to do. We drill exploration holes.”…
… Chair: Would you like a final word, Mr Williams?
Gerwyn Williams: Again, I would like to see a defined time on planning applications.
Gerwyn Williams giving oral evidence to the House of Commons Welsh Affairs Committee, November 2013
Companies keen on extracting shale gas have told MPs there are “substantial” opportunities in north and south Wales.
Last month, two south Wales councils backed exploratory gas drilling bids, prompting opponents’ fears of potential future extraction, known as fracking.
The firms were making their case to the Welsh Affairs Select Committee’s inquiry into energy generation.
Fracking opponents have held protests across the UK, including outside the Senedd in Cardiff Bay.
The technique, also called hydraulic fracturing, involves injecting water and chemicals into shale rock at high pressure.
The rocks shatter in the process, releasing trapped natural gas.
Vale of Glamorgan and Rhondda Cynon Taf councils have approved exploratory borehole drilling at four separate sites by Coastal Oil and Gas – three in the Vale of Glamorgan, and another in Llantrisant.
The MPs heard evidence from Gerwyn Williams, chairman of UK Onshore Gas Limited, whose subsidiary company Coastal Oil and Gas hold licences to explore 500,000 acres across south Wales and some areas in Somerset and Kent.
Rather than extracting, his company is currently focusing on exploring for shale gas and coal bed methane, and Mr Williams said the results of initial tests were encouraging.
“There is an enormous amount of gas in south Wales and I’ve spent my life in the mining industry – 22 years for British Coal and then in private mines, and they’ve virtually all gone,” he said.
“But the energy source is still there and in my view we should be exploiting it.”
BBC News Wales Politics, November 2013
“The assets Shale Energy [an investment company, now defunct] were (or are) buying were for £10m, though not in cash. They would have to raise that though to move forward in the next couple of years. So a min value of £20m for half sounds right. Where gbr [Global Brands] end up is interesting. Gerwyn Williams (Coastal) owns 29% of GBR and when the deal fell through we had “Coastal Oil and Gas director Gerwyn Williams said negotiations for his firm to buy Eden Energy’s share of the exploration licences were at an “advanced stage”. So make of that what you will!
… From latest results: Acquired the entire issued share capital of Gas Exploration Finance Limited (“GEF”) for £38,100 through the issue of 17,318,182 new ordinary shares at £0.0022; Invested £150,000 in UK Methane Limited through GEF; and Invested £79,162.43 in quoted company shares in the oil and gas sector.”
Share chat, January 2014
Mr. Gerwyn Llewellyn Williams is Chief Executive Officer, Director of the Company. He is a Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, and is a member of the Energy Institute. Mr Williams is chairman of and, together with his associates, owns UK Onshore Gas Limited, which owns the entire issued share capital both of UK Methane Limited and (via its subsidiary Thistle Gas Limited) of Coastal Oil & Gas Limited (the Subsidiaries), which together hold a 50% interest in 13 petroleum exploration and development licences covering 1,181 sq. km. in the UK.
Mr. John Page Killer is Director of Global Brands SA. He is currently serving on the Board of several oil and gas exploration and production companies. His early experience was mainly in the North Sea and several African countries, but his work is now concentrated on production operations in the USA where he has been involved in shale gas operations and expanding its use in other countries. He has also acted as consultant to other resource companies involved in project evaluation and acquisition. He has a Bachelor of Science in Geology and Mineralogy from the University of Queensland.
Mr. Gary Arthur Neville has been appointed as Director of Global Brands S.A., with effect from 1 June 2015. He has an infrastructure, project finance, management consultancy and accountancy background. Until recently, Mr Neville was Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer of the manager of the InfraMed Infrastructure fund ($500m) targeting transport, power and urban infrastructure projects in the SEMED region. The fund became substantially invested within 3 1/2 years of his joining. Investments include deep-water port, wind farm, CCGT, and oil & gas projects. Mr Neville was formerly CEO of the exclusive investment advisor to Infrastructure India plc (LSE Main List) and was responsible for the origination and execution of infrastructure investments in India. Infrastructure India plc became substantially invested within four months taking stakes in projects in the transport and power sectors and a substantial pipeline of future opportunities developed in the chosen sectors. Mr Neville was previously a main board director of John Laing plc, one of the largest publicly quoted PPP/PFI infrastructure investors in the UK at the time, with the responsibility of managing and growing the John Laing infrastructure asset portfolio during the period the company was transformed from a construction company into an infrastructure investor. His responsibilities included asset acquisitions, disposals and refinancing, and project monitoring and he also sat on the company’s investment committee.
Mr. Bruce MacLaren Vandenberg serves as Director of Global Brands SA. Prior to this, he was Non-Executive Director of the Company as from June 2, 2008. He has experience in business management and has been involved in managing businesses across diverse sectors. He is Director and Investment Manager at Noble Rock Capital. He is involved in the management of the Virto Group as Chief Executive Officer and Sports Brands Corporation as Director. Prior to joining PCFC, he was Managing Director and founded Interactive Rights Management Ltd (IRM). He founded IRM in October 2004 and remains its single shareholder. Between 2000 and 2004, he was Director of Interactive Media at Celador International. Prior to joining Celador, he was involved in an internet start-up and built and ran News International’s Internet Service Provider, the CurrentBun, which was sold to World Online after six months.
February 6, 2014: Shares suspended for Global Brands… Global Brands announced that it was in negotiations for the acquisition of UK Onshore Gas Limited (“UKOG”), a private limited company that is owned by Global Brands’ majority shareholder, Gerwyn Williams, and his associates. The acquisition would have constituted a reverse takeover under AIM Rules and consequently trading in the Company’s shares on AIM were suspended pending publication of an admission document by the Company or an announcement that the proposed acquisition is no longer proceeding. Global Brands also nnounced that it had secured a convertible loan facility for up to £300,000 from Mr Williams. Mr Williams has already provided the Company with £80,000 in funds under the facility.
In 2014, the same independent auditor repeated his concern (as in 2013), and also revealed the interests of Adamo Energy (UK) were up for grabs.
In 2014, two UKOG shareholders had changed from Whiteley Trustees to The Regent Trust Company Limited (1) and Abacus (C) to RBC Trustees (CI) (2) – the rest remained the same.
UK Onshore Gas Ltd is planning a listing on the London Stock Exchange’s AIM market in the next three months to help finance its ongoing exploration programme in Wales, according to The Times Friday.
[* This AIM listing of UKOG never happened]
The shale gas explorer, which plans to start drill testing in June, believe that Wales has so much shale gas reserves that it eventually could start exporting globally.
UK Onshore Gas is better known for its subsidiaries Coastal Oil and Gas and UK Methane, but it also has 260,000 acres of exploration acreage in Wales, with plans to drill six wells over the next two years to assess the region’s shale gas reserves.
The Times said that, according to a consultancy in Texas, the area between Cardiff and Swansea contains up to 50 trillion cubic feet of gas, which would meet Britain’s gas needs for six years.
However, Williams argues that the official estimate is too low and should be more like the Bowland shale region in the North of England, which officially holds up to 1,300 trillion cubic feet of gas.
If the exploration drilling shows enough reserves, UK Onshore Gas will apply for permission to frack the wells to test how much can be recovered.
“If the well results are positive, I’m sure we would get permission to frack them,” Williams said. “There is a lot of unemployment in South Wales. Developing a shale gas industry in South Wales would create a lot of jobs.”
“Supposed experts like the British Geological Society, have offered varying estimates from 5 trillion cubic feet, to 1000 trillion cubic feet for the UK as a whole.
Meanwhile Eden Energy, who held interests here in Wales until quite recently, produced an estimate for South Wales of 34 trillion cubic feet in 2011. At this point time, the BGS was still sticking to its 5 tcf UK estimate – so who do you believe?
In this industry you choose who you want to believe, and don’t believe the BGS is completely impartial either!
What you need to understand is that this is a very imprecise science. Essentially, what happens is that they drill and take core samples that are often smaller than this (2L) bottle of coke. They than analyse the gas content and extrapolate this across the whole region.
This is utter nonsense in real terms. Firstly, the gas content can vary greatly over quite small distances. And secondly, the recoverable % also varies enormously depending on local conditions within the rock strata and the success, or otherwise, of the fracking operations.
Industry sources quote what they call the Technically Recoverable Rate, typically around 20%. But this is also a gross over-estimate of what is actually recoverable. Experience around the world has shown that 10% recovery is hard enough to achieve…
…There was a spate of test drilling operations around 2008, long before most of us had heard of fracking. They all pretty much dismissed the potential at that stage. Subsequently, astute speculators, like Gerwyn Williams, picked up the PEDL licences across South Wales for a song. He is the man behind tinpot companies like Coastal Oil & Gas and UK Methane, based in Bridgend but with no assets worthy of the name.
Their modus operandum seems to be to pick up PEDL licences cheaply; ponce around putting in planning applications for test drilling here and there – even though they don’t have the resources to do the drilling themselves; talk up the potential and try to secure some backing from somewhat bigger companies like Australian firm Eden Energy (who after some initial interest and a little investment have now withdrawn); and they then hope to make a killing selling on their licences to the really big boys, if and when full-scale production appears on the horizon.
Gerwyn is a retired miner, getting on in years. This is his Ponzi Pension Plan!!…
FINALLY, just in case the frackers are ever let loose here, let me quickly list of my top 13 key local impacts, in no particular order:
1. Hundreds of HGVs on narrow country lanes
2. 24 hr drilling causing noise, light and air pollution
3. Dramatic impacts on house prices
4. Loss of tourism
5. Impacts on agriculture, such as losing organic status
6. In total, more long-term jobs lost than short-term jobs created
7. The threat to water supplies from the massive abstraction of scarce water resources to feed the fracking process
8. Potential irreparable contamination of aquifers
9. High probability of spills of frack fluids and toxic flow back water
10. Likely minor earthquake activity that will cause and increase leaks of gas and fluids, and can cause some structural damage that will not be covered by insurance companies
11. Long term severe health impacts from exposure to some of the chemicals involved (even in minute concentrations)
12. Industrial injuries from chemicals, explosions, and silicosis associated with the type of sand used.
13. The local consequences of climate change exacerbated by this reckless pursuit of extreme fossil fuels rather than focusing on the ample renewable resources that offer Wales genuine energy security and virtually free domestic energy in due course.
In March 2014, more than a year prior to Gerwyn’s companies moving to the same address, fracking infrastructure provider Guardian Global Technologies receives almost half a million pounds in Welsh Government (taxpayers’) funding.
Guardian, the Pyle-based world-leading supplier of specialist Ballistic Delivery Systems equipment to the oil and gas industry, has today (Friday) confirmed the creation of 22 jobs with the potential of a further 20 roles within the next 12 months, following a grant of almost £500,000 from the Welsh Government.
First Minister, Carwyn Jones, will today officially open a major extension to the company’s plant in Pyle which houses a manufacturing line.
In addition to helping purchase new plant and machinery, the grant has also allowed for the refit of its 11,000 sq ft Research and Development centre, test facility and stores.
Guardian is the world’s leading manufacturer of Ballistic Delivery Systems (BDS) for the oil and gas industry – supplying key components for oil and gas servicing companies.
Patrick Keenan, Guardian Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are delighted to be opening this new facility that will allow Guardian to continue to invest in its Research and Development Facility that in turn will allow us to continue our path of accelerated growth over the next few years.
“Guardian continues to break new barriers in creating the playing field for Ballistic Delivery Systems.
The Welsh Government support is greatly appreciated and has truly helped Guardian in its journey, helping create an additional 22 skilled jobs, supporting the local economy and helping us set the foundations for future growth.”
The First Minister said: “As the global market leader in Ballistic Delivery Systems, Guardian is an expert within a niche market. I believe it is testament to our skilled workforce in Wales that such an innovative company chose to establish itself here.
“I am pleased that we have been able to support Guardian in its expansion, with almost £500,000 in grant funding. This funding will bring further skilled jobs to the area as well as enabling the company to extend and modernise its facilities so it may continue to go from strength to strength.”
Guardian has been trading for more than a decade and, following private equity backing in 2008, the company has grown from 18 staff to its current workforce of more than 90 in 2014.
The company supplies major oil and gas companies.
In the same month as Guardian revamps its Pyle headquarters, it opens a new facility in Houston, Texas:
Guardian announced today (Monday, 3rd March) the opening of its new facility in Houston, Texas.
The office marks the company’s fourth expansion outside its headquarters in South Wales, UK, and has been undertaken in response to the increasing demand for its Ballistics Delivery products, including its Select Fire Switch™, to aid in the continued expansion of horizontal drilling and completions in shale reservoirs throughout North America. Situated in North Houston, the facility will initially house U.S. sales, marketing, technical support and administration functions, and will position the company to better support its North American Clients.
Guardian, headquartered in South Wales, United Kingdom, was established in 2003 , and, with the backing of the private equity firm, EPI-V, has grown to become the world’s leading manufacturer of Ballistics Delivery Systems (BDS) for the oil and gas service industry, supplying all of the major companies in the sector. The company supplies everything required for perforating – from the cablehead down to the detonator – on a single integrated simple-to-operate platform. This allows clients to deliver (and safely retrieve) their perforating guns, whether deployed singly or in combinations of up to 40 guns in a string, on-depth, orientated, and safely fired in whichever configuration suits.
Patrick Keenan, Guardian Chief Executive Officer, said,
“We are delighted to be opening this new facility in Houston. It will allow Guardian to better support our clients in North America. With the help of funding from EPI-V, and the financial support of the Welsh Government, from our engineering and manufacturing headquarters in South Wales, Guardian has been able to revolutionise the means by which oil and gas operators perforate their horizontal wells. We are continuing to develop technologies that will define the field of play for Ballistics Delivery Systems in the future.”
Guardian Global Technologies website
March 2014: Eden Energy Ltd (Perth, Australia) terminates agreement with Shale Energy PLC to sell its UK gas portfolio, after Shale Energy fails to raise £7 million capital.
Eden has entered into a conditional Heads of Terms with its existing UK gas andpetroleum Joint Venture partners to merge their respective interests on the following terms:* Eden will transfer its wholly owned UK subsidiary, Adamo Energy (UK) Ltd(“Adamo UK”) to UK Onshore Gas Limited (“UKOG”) (the parent company of thetwo UK Joint Venture partners of Adamo UK).* Eden will receive £1million in cash together with 33.33% of the aggregate issuedshare capital of UKOG before it undertakes any capital raising.* UKOG will hold 100% of all the merged UK gas and petroleum licences.* [If the £1million cash is not paid to Eden by 30 September 2014, Eden may elect to forego the payment and increase its shareholding in UKOG from 33.33% to 40%of the aggregate issued share capital of UKOG before it undertakes any capital raising.]* It is intended that UKOG will either:– list on AIM (possibly by way of reversal into an existing listed company) after orcontemporaneously with it completing a fund raising to give it additional fundsto develop and exploit its UK gas and petroleum licences; or– complete an off-market capital raising into UKOG of not less than £10million.
Now Gerwyn is spearheading a new industrial revolution that he hopes will once more see Wales exporting energy to the world.
He has bought the 65-acre derelict St John’s Colliery site and wants to frack shale gas from the pit where four generations of his family toiled 1,000ft underground.
He says: “Our family and Maesteg made a good living from coal. Now fracking can provide cheap energy and bring industry and jobs back to South Wales.”
His UK Methane company has a licence for exploring 260,000 acres in the former mining heartlands between Cardiff and Swansea.
The area contains about 50 trillion cubic feet of gas, of which 18 trillion cubic feet is recoverable, say experts in Texas. Enough to meet Britain’s needs for six years.
His firm has already drilled six test boreholes for coalbed methane gas. Now it is applying for plans to drill for shale gas too.
To fund further drilling, Gerwyn is floating one of his other companies, UK Onshore Gas, in June on the London AIM exchange.
July 23, 2o14: Global Brands resumes trading on the London Stock Exchange Alternative Investments Market (AIM) after failing to acquire UK Onshore Gas Ltd in a reverse takeover.
UKOG Ltd – the parent company of Gerwyn’s three exploration companies holding licences, UK Methane, Coastal Oil and Gas (via Thistle) and South Western Energy – according to its last accounts (up to December 31, 2014), had £2,540 in the bank, but shareholders’ funds remained at MINUS £1,754.
October 2014 – Somerset
UK Methane have renewed their PEDL (Petroleum Exploration and Development Licence) 227 for a further year. PEDL 227 covers Ston Easton and adjacent areas of the Mendips. However the other three PEDLs in Somerset (225, 226 and 228 – including Saltford) have been relinquished but can be purchased by other companies in the latest, 14th, licensing round (licensing closing date 28th October 2014) [UPDATE: they weren’t, but South Western Energy now has other PEDLs for another part of Somerset].
In their relinquishment report for PEDL 228, UK Methane conclude that “the licence was still potentially prospective and that a number of potential drill sites were identified”. They also report that B&NES Council made it “increasingly difficult to attain planning permission following on from the Europa Oil and Gas Limited refusal of planning for an exploration borehole in green belt land in Surrey. This limited the potential to get planning permission for an exploration borehole on the licence”.
Frack Free Somerset organised an ‘Autumn of Awareness and Action’ with public events during November in the PEDL 227 area.
Saltford Environment Group website, October/ December 2014
November 2014: Gerwyn Williams is appointed Global Brands SA‘s CEO.
Interesting appointment… According to LSE (London Stock Exchange) morons there have been some developments going on with DECC and Eden? If the main guy is getting involved then it looks more likely this could be used as a vehicle for his interests. And he comes in as CEO so not just any old Director.
Share chat, November 2014
Gerwyn is a qualified Electrical Engineer with many years hands on experience in the coal mining and unconventional gas industries. He has founded a number of energy businesses and is currently the largest shareholder in Infinity Energy and the company’s Chief Executive Officer. Gerwyn is also the Chairman of UK Onshore Gas, his family owned group of companies that hold substantial areas of Petroleum Exploration and Development Licences in South Wales via wholly subsidiary companies Coastal Oil and Gas and UK Methane.
Gerwyn is a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, and a Fellow of the Energy Institute.
November 2014: Seven people with an interest and expertise in fracking debated the question Should fracking be allowed in Britain? in front of an audience of around 200 people at Canterbury Christ Church University.
“We have drilled six wells so far. We have drilled five exploration wells and one production well. We’ve never had an objector on site. Sometimes we’ve never even bothered to put security outside. That has all changed in recent years since Balcombe came round in the summer a few years ago. The whole industry has changed. And I think it has changed for the worst.”
Gerwyn Williams, Canterbury Debate, November 2014
Bridgend-based Coastal Oil and Gas have planning permission to test drill for gas at land owned by Evfil in Llantrithyd.
A spokesman for the Llantrithyd Residents Association said the group has a petition asking Evfil Ltd and its directors not to allow Coastal Oil and Gas Ltd not to drill for gas.
He said: “We are expecting a very special guest to come to deliver our present for us.
“We are inviting everyone to come along and help spread the word about the dangers of fracking.
“There will be live music, mince pies and cheerful company as we all look forward to a happy Christmas and a frack-free future and new year.”
The association spokesman said: “We have held several meeting with Natural Resources Wales and hope that the area will be classed as being of ‘high public interest’ which would mean that there would have to be public engagement before any licences for drilling were granted.”
The association was formed in January with the aim of “preventing the exploration and production of hydrocarbons in the Llantrithyd postal address area.”
The association says it represents over 90% of the village.
Meanwhile, Gerwyn Williams, chairman of UK Onshore Gas Limited, of which Coastal Oil and Gas is a subsidiary, said drilling at its Llandow site would begin “in the near future”.
Mr Williams said the company, which also hold licences to explore for shale gas in parts of Somerset and Kent, had also applied for similar licences to explore in other parts of Wales.
He added: “There is an enormous amount of gas in South Wales and in my view we should be exploiting it.”
Western Mail, December 2014
GERWYN WILLIAMS (UK Onshore Gas Group – incl Coastal Oil & Gas)
Most interesting was our brief discussion beforehand where he revealed his stock market flotation has had difficulties and is a few months behind schedule. His new line of spin was that shale gas should be seen as providing the carbon for lightweight vehicles and the hydrogen for pollution free vehicles.
Green Leftie report on Public Forum for Energy Policy in Wales
John Page Killer’s seismic firm Sigma Exploration Ltd shows shareholders’ funds at MINUS £1.7m in its accounts up to December 31, 2014. [Sigma owns 5% shares in UK Onshore Gas, while John Killer, born in 1943, is also director alongside Gerwyn with investment platform Gas Exploration Limited and its owner, Luxembourg-based Infinity Energy SA, plus sits with Gerwyn on the board of the seemingly dormant UK Gas Ltd, and did from 2006-11 at Seven Star Natural Gas Limited.
20th January 2015: UK Methane applied for planning permission for a well which will target both the Coal and Shale formations at a site near Pontrhydyfen. An earlier application for the same development was rejected by Neath Port Talbot Council over noise level concerns. [the plan was given consent]
February: The Western Mail asks if the Welsh Government’s vote to impose a moratorium on fracking until it can be proven safe means the end for fracking in South Wales. [note: the moratorium doesn’t seem to apply to testing, which doesn’t involve fracking]
The company behind a series of applications to test drill for gas in South Wales has applied for a permit to start work on land in a village near to where scenes for the epic adventure drama film Lawrence of Arabia were filmed.
Bridgend-based Coastal Oil and Gas has applied to Natural Resources Wales for an environmental permit to drill a borehole at a site off Tyla Lane, Merthyr Mawr, Bridgend.
The proposed site is 800 metres from the village and 1.7 kilometres from the Merthyr Mawr dunes, a Site of Special Scientific Interest where parts of the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia, starring Peter O’Toole, were filmed.
Planning permission for the scheme was granted by Bridgend County Borough Council in December last year and gives the company up to five years to begin the test drill.
However, before any work can begin, the company will need an environmental permit.
The Vale of Glamorgan council, which unsuccessfully opposed an application by the company to test drill at the Llandow Industrial Estate, has been asked for its “observations” on the application for an environmental permit on the Merthyr Mawr site.
The Vale council’s refusal of the Llandow application, which was based around concerns that it could lead to a “fracking” operation, was overturned following a public inquiry.
The council was ordered to pay the company’s costs of £40,000.
Work has yet to begin on drilling at Llandow for which a similar environmental permit will be required.
The Merthyr Mawr scheme involves drilling an exploratory borehole for “unconventional oil and gas” to a depth of approximately 1,500m.
Drilling operations would last for about eight weeks. Both the company and Natural Resources Wales have stressed that “there will be no hydraulic fracturing (fracking) as part of this operation.”
In their letter to the Vale council, Natural Resources Wales says: “Any application for an environmental permit will assess the impact of the proposed activity on the environment and local community.”
The original planning application at Merthyr Mawr was opposed by 29 residents and members of the Broadlands Residents’ Association.
They said fracking was “dangerous and unwarranted and can result in a range of environmental concerns including landslides, subsidence and minor earthquakes and effect on ecology. This activity is banned in several countries.”
They also raised concerns about noise and the impact the operation could have on the Merthyr Mawr sand dunes.
Planners pointed out that while there were concerns about fracking, the application did not involve the controversial gas extraction technique and therefore objections on that ground would be invalid.
Coastal Oil and Gas has permission to test drill at three sites in the Vale of Glamorgan. They are Five Mile Lane, Dyffryn; Llandow Trading Estate, Cowbridge; and Llancarfan.
In Bridgend, the company has permission to test drill at Merthyr Mawr and Cwmcedfyw Farm, Pontrhydycyff.
In Rhondda Cynon Taf, it has permission to test drill at Pantybrad Road, Llantrisant.
Western Mail article, May 2015
May 2015: “In the absence of any other sources of additional funding, the Company will continue to be reliant on the financial support of Mr Williams.” (Global Brands Notice of Results)
The Global Brands‘ wholly owned subsidiary, Gas Exploration Finance Limited (GEF), has a framework financing agreement with Coastal Oil and Gas Limited and UK Methane Limited (together, the “Gas Companies”) whereby GEF has been appointed, on a non-exclusive basis, to co-invest to finance the Gas Companies’ exploration and development operations.
Share chat, May 2015
[NOTE: THIS GERWYN COMPANY SHOWED PROFIT IN ITS LATEST FILED RESULTS!]
July 2015: Somerset confirmed frack free [but only until August 2015]
We have confirmation that PEDL 227 which covers part of the Mendip Hills between Bath and Shepton Mallet has now been relinquished by the licence holder UK Methane. This is excellent news for our area as it now means there are no active oil and gas companies seeking to explore possible reserves in Somerset! We are Frack Free!
This follows the relinquishment last June of the 3 previously held licence areas in Somerset. So for the time being the threat of immediate unconventional gas exploration has been removed.
We feel this move by UK Methane is at least in part due to the amazing efforts of local people and groups to make Somerset an unwelcome place for oil and gas exploration, showing that any moves to explore in Somerset will be strongly resisted.
A word of caution here though as we are soon expecting the government to announce the results of the 14th Onshore Oil and Gas Licencing Round, which could mean that another oil and gas company could have bid for any of the licence blocks in our area and attempt to commence exploration.
June 2015: What next for fracking in South Wales, asks a Bridgend blogger?
Remember that UK Methane and Coastal Oil & Gas are both Gerwyn Williams companies. He is scratching around trying to fund some drilling activity so he doesn’t have his licences taken off him. Re the Bridgend sites, Cwmcedfyw has seen test drilling for CBM done and dusted. It is not a major concern. Similarly, Ffaldau has been generating electricity on a small scale from CBM extraction without fracking and is not a significant concern. St John’s Colliery saw drilling aborted sometime ago and is unlikely to be revisited anytime soon. This leaves Merthyr Mawr as the focus of attention in the Bridgend area at present. Gerwyn has just recently applied for an Environmental permit for this site – and two other in South Wales, namely Five Mile Lane, and Llandow ). These are clearly top of his initial hit list. Watch this space.
Andy Chyba: Green Leftie blog on live fracking planning applications in Wales, June 2015
A change of address for Gerwyn and his many companies… to an office housed within the Merlin House industrial estate complex in Pyle, near Bridgend, belonging to fracking/ drilling infrastructure firm, Guardian Global Technologies (servicing Halliburton and Schlumberger among other global fracking giants).
Twenty nine jobs are set to be lost at a Bridgend firm that supplies equipment to oil and gas companies around the world.
Guardian Global Technologies employs 80 people at its manufacturing and research facility in Pyle.
Chief Executive Officer Patrick Keenen said it is “with deep regret” that they had entered into a consultation process with the workforce in order to reduce numbers.
‘Sudden and severe fall in orders’
“The economic downturn in the worldwide oil and gas industry has regrettably led to Guardian Global Technologies entering into a consultation process with staff, in order to reduce the size of our workforce,” said Mr Keenan, in a statement released on Wednesday .
“We provide sophisticated equipment for oil and gas wells, but the worldwide fall in oil and gas prices has greatly reduced the amount of drilling being performed in our industry, particularly in our key market of the United States.
“The result is a sudden and severe fall in the number of orders on our books.
‘We cannot maintain our current staffing level’
“We have no option but to reduce our costs, and, regrettably, this means we cannot maintain our current staffing level. This is a great disappointment as, until very recently, we were recording very good results.
“We initially believed that 40 staff would be affected. However, very constructive consultation with staff representatives has resulted in some innovative cost saving measures, and we now anticipate a reduction of 29 jobs.”
In March 2014, First Minister Carwyn Jones officially opened an extension to the plant on the Village Farm Industrial Estate.
‘Excellent, hard-working and loyal workforce’
At the time, Guardian, which was established in 2003, also confirmed the creation of 22 jobs.
Mr Keenan praised the company’s loyal workforce for helping it through the ongoing consultation process.
“We have an excellent, hard-working and loyal workforce at Guardian and it is with deep regret that we have had to initiate this process – to protect the future of the company,” he said.
“Employees have remained incredibly professional and they have been tremendous in helping the company to overcome this difficult period.
“It is likely that there will be an upturn in the market at some time and our order book may grow again, but unfortunately we cannot know when that will be.”
Mr Keenan added that the consultation process is ongoing.
June 2015: Not much more than a year after receiving £500,000 in Government grant money targeted at job creation, Guardian lays off 29 of its 80 staff
Guardian are the first publicly-available accounts we’ve investigated so far that show a seven-figure turnover (it costs millions of pounds, rather than thousands to undertake a single well, from construction to completion).
As well as receiving Government aid, since 2008 Guardian has been funded by a private equity company, EPI-V. EPI-V also funds a petroleum exploration and production company active in Yorkshire, Moorland Energy. But EPI-V focuses on investment in the infrastructure and services provided to the oil and gas industry. They are minimal risk as they are “less directly impacted by fluctuating oil prices.”
Epi-V is a private equity firm providing growth capital to companies in the energy sector.
Headquartered in the UK, Epi-V seeks out commercial opportunities within upstream oil and gas services to deliver growth and exceptional returns for our investments and shareholders.
Through our investments we play an active role in developing dynamic businesses and technology-based application solutions which will meet the present and future challenges of oil and gas production.
Since 2007, we have invested in oil field services technology, providing capital, industry insight and commercialisation competence to companies targeting growth markets in the global upstream sector. We specialise in sourcing, structuring and syndicating non-auction, off-market transactions with high growth potential.
We seek to make investments between $3m and $15m (£2m and £10m).
The link with Guardian and EPI-V is Kevin Forbes, a director of both companies:
Kevin has over three decades experience of successfully commercialising and implementing new upstream technology.
Kevin works closely with management teams to develop innovative products which can be commercialised in international markets. He has been particularly involved in Epi-V’s investment in i-Tec, the manufacturer and designer of highly advanced completion, drilling and intervention products, leading the company to exploit the US shale gas market and leading the company’s exit sale in 2013.
Kevin has extensive leadership experience in the oil and gas industry including 30 years at Schlumberger Oilfield Services, initially as an engineer before spending ten years at the heart of both the Company’s Integrated Project Management and Marketing divisions. Prior to joining Epi-V he held the position of Group Technolgy and Marketing Manager at the firm’s Houston office. Over the course of his career Kevin has worked in London, Aberdeen and the USA.
Kevin has served on the board of directors for Schlumberger’s Evaluation and Production Services, the Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce and Epi-V’s portfolio companies Guardian Global Technologies, i-Tec, Moorland and Darcy.
Kevin joined Epi-V in 2008. He holds a Bsc from Brunel University and an MBA from Cranfield Institute of Technology.
Kevin Forbes profile, EPI-V website
July 2015: Adamo moved its office from London to Wales (Cardiff Gate).
July 2015: Global Brands SA changes its name to Infinity Energy
August 2015: Geologist Oliver Taylor joined the board of directors at UK Methane
GAS exploration is in the pipeline for land north of Swansea.
Pyle-based UK Methane wants to drill a 1,000m borehole to test for the presence of coal bed methane at a site owned by Penllergaer Estates, off Bryntywod Road, Llangyfelach.
If given consent to test drill by Swansea Council, Natural Resources Wales and the Coal Authority, the samples would be sent off for analysis.
UK Methane’s planning statement said: “This application is for exploration works only and does not entail any ground stimulation (fracking) or any gas production. If the results indicate that viable reserves are present, consultation will be carried out with the community and the council to explore a suitable site for gas production. This will be the subject of a new planning application.”
August 19, 2015: New fracking licence blocks announced, pending Habitats Regulations Assessments – licence operators not revealed (until December 2015).
August 20, 2015: Share prices in Infinity Energy SA spike by 200% (a day after the Government publishing a map with licence blocks – licence operators not made public until December 2015). Company releases statement: “The Board of Infinity Energy notes the sharp increase in the Company’s share price today.
The Board is not aware of any reason for the price movement.”
You do all realise the history here. This used to be Global Brands. It was pumped by the regular tipsters and those who are self-proclaimed gurus. It then collapsed in a very dishonourable style from a very high price. Infinity is the dying embers under a new name. (apfindley)
Only 70 million shares traded and it was up by 200%… something to think about (letmepass)
Drop like a stone tomorrow. Feel for all those who will get spiked (ch4_p88)
The company is in debt and has very limited cash. The only reason everyone is jumping on-board is because it had a sub million market cap (for a reason). You get the usual pumping group start to buy and push the promotion buttons, and all the little followers jump on an already doubled share price to push it higher. It moved because the price was so cheap so it was easy to manipulate. Tomorrow will be tears, even the pumpers on lse are getting a bit nervous. Let’s face it, if they were confident, then they wouldn’t have been posting every few minutes all evening. It’s going to be a mad scramble to get out first before it collapses. The company have debts, and are not big enough to service those debts. There will be a cash raising very soon, wait and see… That’s why it’s being pumped. (apfindley)
I definitely do not want to buy here. Can you not see, this has been pumped and hyped by the regular ORGANISED PUMPING CREW. All you little guys suckered in again to the dying embers of a failed and renamed company (apfindley)
They buy in very low in a depressed company over several weeks so the market doesn’t notice. Then they start to promote it all over the place, They place a few trades to spark the price into life, then a few people think ooh it’s rising, the stories must be true, then the pumpers buy a few more into the rise to make it move faster and give the impression of volume gathering, then the snowball starts, which is what happened yesterday afternoon. The organised pumping crew then choose their time to exit, which they probably started late yesterday just before close. They knowthe score, and we’re probably surprised at no movement rns during market hours, but they knew one was coming after close, it had to. I knew it would come too as I posted yesterday, it had to come. The people left holding expensive stock in a company with debts and very little cash, are unfortunately the small guys, the mug punters who are just chasing prices that have already risen. Probably the same ones nursing losses at apfo or rmp too this week. (apfindley)
Share chat, August 2015
Sep 2015: Infinity Energy reports losses of £65,000 from Jan-June 2015 (£97,000 in 2014)
Gerwyn Williams’ stable of largely valueless companies, including Coastal Oil & Gas and UK Methane, have found themselves a new home.
Given the apparently parlous state of his finances, I suppose that paying out rent for an office on Bridgend Industrial Estate, that he barely ever used for anything but a glorified mailing address, was a luxury that had to go in these austere times. Luckily, he appears to have been offered a helping hand from a company with a vested interest in fracking worldwide – Guardian Global Technology Ltd of Village Farm Industrial Estate in Pyle…
… But things just aren’t working out as planned for Gerwyn. His home is progressing at a snail’s pace, as he clearly cannot afford to finish what he has started. The same is true with his PEDL licences. He may well have got Environment permits sorted for a couple of sites recently, but I seriously doubt he has the resources to do the test drilling. Having lost the backing of people like Eden Energy, I can’t see Guardian’s magnanimity extending to a 7 or 8 figure loan!!
Things have not exactly been going as planned for Guardian either. Only last year, they extended their Pyle plant (extension opened by none other than Carwyn Jones) and took on extra workers. But now they too are struggling, having already made 29 of their 80 employees redundant earlier this year.
Andy Chyba: Green Leftie blog, September 2015
Guardian Global Technologies offers a useful service for gas explorers – as well as sales, it includes rental of drilling equipment:
Having the ability to rent selective equipment is an option that often proves crucial in the oil and gas industry. Challenges can change on a daily basis and having the opportunity to immediately access key technology can be critical to success.
Being able to rent equipment also provides the opportunity to try technology before purchase, hire for just one job, or to cover the short lead time while your own made-to-order equipment is being manufactured.
Guardian makes available, for immediate use, a selection of our most popular surface equipment, perforation instruments and production logging tools for those occasions.
Guardian Global Technologies website
Oct 2015: Infinity Energy suspends trading while it negotiates buying Eden Energy‘s shares in 9 PEDLs in S Wales exploration
Having been alerted to the fact that some significant sums of money have passed through Gerwyn Williams companies quite quickly recently (I hope the taxman is watching him!), I thought I had better check on what he is up to. All his test drilling sites are being monitored regularly and there is negligible evidence of anything going on at them, but what of his luxury retirement home? As previously reported, progress has been painfully slow this year, but having popped down there today, there is evidence of activity that would probably equate to the sums of money passing through his company accounts. For a start the lift installers were on site today, and one of them commented that it is the biggest lift they have ever installed in a residential property. You can gauge this from the installation on the roof. Secondly, there is a sizeable indoor pool being installed in the ground floor…
Andy Chyba: Green Leftie blog, November 2015
Dec 2015: Trading resumed as Infinity Energy says its attempt to buy out 50% of Eden Energy failed. Shares plummet.
To mark ‘No Fracking Way UK 2016’, supporters of Frack Free Wales visited all the  live sites in South Wales to check on progress.
Three of the sites have had their land access agreement withdrawn, so will probably not be drilled. One site (Llanharan) was refused Planning Permission; we await an appeal.
Of the remainder, three (Pontrhydyfen, Merthyr Mawr and Llandow Trading Estate) have been granted Environmental Permits. One of these is likely to be the next site drilled in South Wales, but there is no indication that work is about to start.
January 30, 2016: Frack Free Wales inspected all the South Wales sites with permission for test drilling and reported no activity at any
Welsh sites for coalbed methane and shale gas (2015)
Feb 22, 2016: Gerwyn Williams ups his convertible loan facility to Infinity Energy SA to £400,000. The market reacts negatively – share prices drop by 1 per cent.
Feb 24, 2016: Eden Energy (Australia) confirms completion of sale (for £1 plus royalties) of South Wales PEDLs to Adamo Energy and UK Onshore Gas (parent company of UK Methane Ltd/ Coastal Oil and Gas Ltd). UKOG acquires Adamo Energy.
“As previously disclosed, there is no guarantee that any payment will be made by UKOG to Adamo Energy under the Earn Out, as such a payment is dependant upon Petroleum Substances being mined, derived or extracted from the PEDLs and there is no guarantee that this will occur.
Whilst coal bed methane is known from earlier exploration to occur on PEDL 100, the size of this resource is not yet proven.
Further, whilst there is a reasonable chance that other hydrocarbon deposits may exist in one or other form of conventional or unconventional hydrocarbons on the PEDLs, this is also not proven.
In any event, the production of commercial quantities of recoverable hydrocarbons, should they exist on the PEDLs will depend upon many matters, including but not limited to any necessary regulatory and/ or environmental approvals that may be required, the economics of both exploration for and production of hydrocarbons, and the ability to secure access to the sites for drilling (much of the licence areas being privately owned).
Statement from Eden Energy, on selling its South Wales interests to UK Onshore Gas for £1 plus a share of royalties, February 2016
February-March 2016: All Adamo’s £2,125,000 shares are allotted to the parent company, Eden Energy. Gerwyn Williams appointed as director of Adamo.
March 2016: Shale Energy UK Limited, with offices in London and Lagos, Nigeria, dissolved.
March 31st 2016: Drill Or Drop reports Coastal Oil and Gas had dropped its appeal against planning refusal in Llanharan, Rhondda Cynon Taf and plans to look for another site.
April 2016: Geologist Oliver Taylor appointed as director of Adamo
THE STORY SO FAR…
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Hi Owen, do you know who South Western Energy banks with? It is not listed on their accounts. We are trying to establish which high street banks are involved with the companies with the most new exploration licenses. Thanks, Ruth, Ethical Consumer.
Hi Ruth, I’m afraid Companies House doesn’t show this. However a subsidiary of the investment arm of the Royal Bank of Canada (Jersey-based Damor Investments – as mentioned in the Panama Papers numerous times) is a shareholder in SW Energy-related companies