This is why the firm wanting to frack for gas in Lancashire has had a boost

Shale gas exploration company Cuadrilla which has two test wells in Lancashire has been given a boost by an investor.

By Tim Gavell
Saturday, 18th June 2022, 4:55 am

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.

The fracking wells at Preston New Road

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But amid rising fuel costs and the Russian attacks on Ukraine, the Government did a U-turn, pausing the capping of the wells and ordering a review to see if fracking could be done safely.

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.”

In the statement AJ Lucas said that it will retain the remaining participating interest in these licences, which will continue to be operated by Cuadrilla. Spirit retains the option to exit the licences, should it elect to do so, before the end of June 2023, or such later date as may be agreed by the UK Regulator for the continued suspension of the existing wells in these licence areas.