Losses narrow at shale gas explorer

Drilling deep: A Cuadrilla engineer drilling in Lancashire
Drilling deep: A Cuadrilla engineer drilling in Lancashire
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The company which is exploring for shale gas on the Fylde has seen its losses narrow as its bid to tap into the potentially huge natural gas resources buried deep under the county gathers pace.

Cuadrilla Resources has posted a pre-tax loss of $8.8m, down from $29.2m in 2012.

The company’s annual report for the year up to December 2013 shows that the group had 36 employees and operated in Lancashire and West Sussex with plans to explore shale gas in the Netherlands and Poland.

Cuadrilla, which has offices in Blackpool but its HQ in Staffordshire, is a joint venture between Australian engineering group AJ Lucas, private equity firm Riverstone and the management team.

Centrica bought into its operations, acquiring the shares of its Bowland Resources Ltd subsidiary in a deal worth up to £150m and becoming a 
25 per cent partner in the Lancashire exploration operation. Cuadrilla Chief Executive Francis Egan said: “2013 was a year of progress and development. We were delighted to announce that Centrica joined as an investor and partner in our Lancashire Bowland exploration licence, and that we had appointed Arup as the independent provider of our Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) in Lancashire.

“There were well documented protestor events at the Balcombe exploration well site and similar protests have been witnessed at other operator sites.

“We remain confident that as stakeholders and the public better understand the proposals and need for shale gas exploration and extraction in the UK, the potential economic and environmental benefits this can offer and how the industry and regulators manage risk, such operations will attract increasing support.

“As Cuadrilla’s CEO, I continue to give our firm commitment to work constructively with local communities, to do all in Cuadrilla’s power to complete the exploration phase sensibly and safely, and to discover the full extent of the UK’s shale gas opportunity.

“ In order to ensure that industry can continue to match the UK Government’s ambition for onshore gas operations, a package of measures on tax, planning and community benefits was announced in the 2013 Budget.

“An industry-led scheme was also launched to make sure communities share in the benefits of shale gas exploration and developments in their areas.”