The Panama papers revelations exposed in the National press in recent weeks have helped to shine a light into the murky world of offshore tax havens where an estimated £8 trillion of wealth is kept in offshore bank accounts, and denying countries like the UK from collecting their fair share in tax revenues which are needed to maintain our vital public services such as the NHS, schools and our emergency services.
An investigation, carried out by Frack Free North Yorkshire, can reveal that Third Energy (the company that have submitted a planning application to frack at Kirby Misperton in Ryedale) also makes use of these types of off-shore tax havens where their holding company ‘Third Energy Holdings Limited’ has been based in the Cayman islands since 2011 in a building once described by USA President Barak Obama as “either the biggest building in the world or the biggest tax scam in the world”
How is Third Energy structured?
Third Energy is managed principally by three directors; John Dewer the operations director, David Robottom the financial director and Rasik Valand the CEO. The trio are currently directors of 27 companies in the UK and In the past were also directors at 12 companies that are now dissolved or they have resigned. The overall company is rumoured to be 97% owned by Barclays Plc.
The company that has applied to frack at Kirby Misperton is called Third Energy UK gas Ltd they are based at Knapton in North Yorkshire and are wholly owned by a company called Third Energy Onshore Ltd also based at Knapton, however this company is wholly owned by Third Energy Holdings Ltd who are based in the Cayman Islands.
Similarly the trio of Dewer, Robottom and Valand are also directors of Third Energy Offshore, Third Energy Services, Third Energy Limited, Third Energy Petroleum ltd, Third Energy Oil and Gas ltd, Exploration and production ltd, Third Energy gas Ltd and Third Energy Ebt trustee Limtied. These companies are based in the UK however they are all wholly owned by the Cayman Island based Third Energy Holdings (See chart below)
Who are Third Energy Holdings Limited?
Very little information is available as to who owns Third Energy Holdings Limited. What we do know is that the registered address is Ugland House on South Church Street, George Town and that the ultimate parent company is likely to be Barclays Plc.
Ugland House is a building located in George Town, Cayman Islands. Located on South Church Street, the building is the registered office address for 18,857 entities, including many major investment funds, international joint ventures and capital market issuers. During his first presidential campaign, U.S. President Barack Obama referred to Ugland House, raising questions over the number of companies with a registered office in the building
“That’s either the biggest building in the world or the biggest tax scam in the world,” President Obama (2009)
This short film explains why Ugland House has caused so much controversy;
Third Energy UK Gas Limited’s tax record and financial position in the UK
Before Third Energy UK Gas ltd are allowed to commence with fracking in North Yorkshire one of the hurdles they need to overcome is the financial checks required by the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC).
Frack Free North Yorkshire have written to DECC to ask for clarification on the types of financial assessments conducted and the level of financial bonds held by DECC should the fracking firm go into administration. we received the following response from DECC;
“DECC conducted a financial assessment of this company in November 2014 which was in accordance with DECC published financial guidance. The financial assessment was based on published accounts supplemented by management accounts and financial forecasts.”
“We can confirm that the Department holds a parent company guarantee which was issued to Third Energy UK Gas Ltd. by Third Energy Holdings Ltd. The parent company guarantee was not issued directly through the ultimate parent company, Barclays.”
Furthermore DECC confirmed in January 2016
“There are no financial bonds in place”
Frack Free North Yorkshire have also written to DECC to confirm that the Tax payer will not be liable for any decommissioning costs, clean up costs or legacy costs should Third Energy’s holding company go into liquidation. As of the 15/04/16 DECC have failed to provide an answer.
Frack Free North Yorkshire have also reviewed the company credit report generated for Third Energy UK Gas Ltd. The data contained within the report seems to suggest that Third Energy UG Gas Ltd have paid no corporation tax in the UK for past 5 years despite a turnover in the same period of £7.5million. Third Energy UK Gas Ltd made a loss of £4.4million in 2014/15. (link to full report here – THIRD ENERGY UK GAS LIMITED (01421481) – Credit Report – 18 February 2016
Frack Free North Yorkshire are not suggesting that Third Energy have broken any laws, however considering Third energy have never drilled for oil and gas in the Cayman Islands and all of the Third Energy directors are based in the UK the current business structure does warrant further explanations. We therefore kindly request that Third Energy answer the following questions;
1 – Why are Third Energy based in the Cayman Islands?
2 – How does this link back to Third Energy’s ultimate owners Barclays bank who also have business registered at the same address in the Cayman islands?
3 – Are Third Energy avoiding paying corporation tax in the UK by basing their holding company offshore?
4 – Can Third Energy confirm who becomes liable for the clean up costs in Yorkshire should ‘Third Energy Holdings Ltd’ go into liquidation?
Frack Free North Yorkshire look forward to receiving a response from Third Energy.