Spirit Energy, a subsidiary of gas giant Centrica, has changed its mind on pulling out of the venture to explore the extraction of natural gas from deep-lying shale rock under Lancashire.
The firm had cash-backed Cuadrilla in its fracking operations, where millions of gallons of water and chemicals are pumped under pressure into the Bowland shale layers in a bid to release gas trapped in the rock.
The Government imposed a moratorium on fracking in November 2019 after it caused a flurry of earth tremors near the two wells at Preston New Road, Little Plumpton, and later ordered the wells sealed.
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Now Spirit has decided to retain its 25 per cent participating interest in the Bowland and a 22.75 per cent participating interest in the Elswick exploration licenses in Lancashire.
Andrew Purcell, chairman of Australian mining group, AJ Lucas which owns Cuadrilla, said in an official statement: “We are very pleased that Spirit Energy has decided to remain as a Joint Venture partner on the exciting Bowland shale gas discoveries and exploration licenses.
“Spirit’s technical, financial, and industry-wide expertise will prove invaluable as we continue to work with the UK Government and its regulators so that the UK may benefit from a secure, low-cost domestic supply of natural gas.
“We remain convinced that the Bowland shale gas resource which we have discovered has the potential to be a very significant contributor to the UK energy mix and in particular a source of cost effective fuel for heating UK homes and businesses.”