Losses grow for Fylde coast fracking company

Cuadrilla chief executive Francis Egan
Cuadrilla chief executive Francis Egan
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The company which aims to frack for natural gas on the Fylde has seen its losses increase.

Cuadrilla Resources has reported pre-tax losses for the year ending December 2016 of $11.54m.

But its losses have fallen from $17.67m in the previous year after the Bamber Bridge based firm cut its costs and shed a handful of staff as it moved to Lancashire from the Midlands.

Its bid to generate millions through gas sales has been on hold since the Blackpool earth tremors in 2011 and it has been forced to await legal challenges over the go-ahead of drilling.

Opponents of fracking said the firm’s financial report shows that the industry’s claims of creating thousands of jobs on hundreds of fracking sites are untrue.

But the company said it was confident it was on schedule.

In the report the company’s revenue was down in 2016 to $12,000, from $219,000 in 2015 and $5.17m in 2014 with a decline in renting out its drill rig and well services.

Chief executive Francis Egan criticised some protestors in the company report accusing some of “irresponsible and intimidating behaviour”.

But he said Cuadrilla was confident of drilling two horizontal wells at Preston New Road and fracking them with gas flow tested and gas flowing into the national grid early in 2018.

He said: “When we relocated our head office to Bamber Bridge from Lichfield, Staffordshire some of our employees were unable to relocate with us and took redundancy. The reduced workforce contributed to a drop in operating costs in 2016. Since we have been operational at Preston New Road at the start of 2017 we have recruited and are continuing to recruit to fill those jobs, along with new roles.

“Shale gas exploration requires significant investment in order to generate a revenue stream and Lancashire has already benefited from £1.4m of that expenditure in the first quarter of this year alone.

“Our Board, out joint venture partners, our contractors and all of us working at Cuadrilla remain committed to making shale gas exploration a success for us and for the county.”

Anti-fracking campaigner Jules Burton from Roseacre said: “Due to these shocking figures Cuadrilla has reduced its workforce with the latest accounts identifying a fall in staff numbers as key to controlling costs.

“This directly contradicts Cuadrilla’s claim that it would bring ‘An Employment Boom’ to Lancashire. Indeed, even though it has started its operations with the formation of its first pad there is no evidence of the promised bonanza.”

Julie Daniels from the Lancashire Nanas said: “Our support only grows as the delays and racked-up costs for Cuadrilla continue.

“We have a right to protest at this unjust and undemocratic invasion of our land and community. We can promise a summer of discontent for the fracking industry.”

See also: Vandal attack at Cuadrilla headquarters