Cuadrilla shareholder hints at government help for faster planning approvals

In a statement to the financial markets, one of Cuadrilla’s major shareholders revealed plans to start drilling in the Bowland Basin next year.

The A J Lucas Group said it was working with Cuadrilla and Centrica (another shareholder) and its advisers to “expedite planning and regulatory approvals with a view to commencing drilling operations in H2 [second half] 2014”.

The statement hinted that government support would speed up approvals. It said: “The lengthy timeframe taken to complete the required steps to resume drilling should be mitigated by support for the development of a local shale gas industry from the highest levels of the British government.”

The statement also updated investors on the operation in the Balcombe area (Bolney Prospect). It predicted that planning permission would be approved around February next year, when the well could be flow tested.

  • Water UK, which represents the water industry, and the UK Onshore Operators Group, the onshore oil and gas industry’s representative body, have agreed to work together on shale gas exploration and extraction. The two organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which they say will ensure their members cooperate. 

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