Losses grow at Lancashire fracking firm

Cuadrilla Chief Executive Francis Egan
Cuadrilla Chief Executive Francis Egan
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Gas exploration firm Cuadrilla Resources has reported growing losses of around £15m as it awaits the start of work on fracking operations in Lancashire.

Parent company Cuadrilla Resources Holdings registered a pre-tax loss of $17.7m in 2015, according to accounts filed at Companies House, compared with a $11.3m loss in 2014.

The loss is said to be largely down to the delay on gaining approval for its shale gas exploration in Lancashire.

The Government recently allowed Cuadrilla’s appeal against Lancashire County Council’s refusal to allow it to drill at Preston New Road, Little Plumpton.

Opponents of fracking are furious the go-ahead has been given.

A second application for Roseacre Wood, near Elswick, could also be approved if highways issues are overcome.

Cuadrilla is 45 per cent owned by private equity firm Riverstone, 45 per cent by Australian engineering and construction firm AJ Lucas, and 10 per cent by its management and employees.

Currently it has no oil and gas production.

The loss last year is said to be due to operating and administrative costs of $17.5m, which included staffing and overheads and the costs of the planning process.

In his report, chief executive officer Francis Egan said he was delighted that planning permission had been granted and the company was now moving forward.

He said the company expected to be drilling wells in the first half of 2017 and testing the flow of gas in the second half of the year

He said he was encouraged the Secretary of State was minded to grant permission for Roseacre Wood, subject to further consultation on highways conditions.

Mr Egan said: “The year ahead will be a pivotal and exciting one. Assessing the commercial vilaibility of shale gas in the UK is a national imperative, as reliance on imported gas to heat our homes, fuel our industry and generate elecricity continues to rapidly grow.

“We are very pleased that we can now start operations to make production of UK shale a reality.”

Mr Egan also revealed that Cuadrilla has accepted the award of further onshore exploration licences in Yorkshire totalling 1,274 square kilometres.