Government not delivering on fracking decision timetable – Cuadrilla CEO

Francis Egan Shale Gas World

Francis Egan, centre, with Tom Pickering, of INEOS, (left) and Ken Cronin, of UK Onshore Oil and Gas, at Shale World 

The head of the fracking company, Cuadrilla, warned this morning that investors didn’t have “limitless patience”.

Speaking at the Shale World Uk conference in London, Francis Egan said the government had good intentions in setting limits on the length of time that councils could take to decide planning applications. But he said it was not delivering.

In August last year, the government told mineral planning authorities they should decide shale gas applications within the statutory time limit of 16 weeks or risk losing their decision-making role.

Mr Egan said:

“Speaking for Cuadrilla, we are quite a long way away from 16 weeks, we’re approaching two years. I think Third Energy is approaching one year.”

“So the words are good, the intent is good but the delivery is not. Investors have patience but it’s not limitless.”

Cuadrilla’s applications to frack at Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood, submitted in 2014, are currently being considered by a planning inspector and will be decided by the Communities and Local Government Secretary, Greg Clark. Third Energy’s application to frack at Kirby Misperton was first submitted in May 2015 and will probably be decided on Monday 23 May 2016.

Mr Egan was responding to the keynote address by the Energy Minister, Andrea Leadsom.

She told the meeting of representatives from the shale gas industry:

“We need to tackle the issue of extensive planning delays head-on if we are to reap the benefits that shale gas offers to our energy security, jobs and wider economy.

“Firms that want to explore for shale gas need to be confident that their application will be processed in a timely way and examined purely on a planning basis. The new measures we’ve introduced will help to make this happen.

“We are addressing a problem that causes unnecessary delays and benefits no one.”

Mrs Leadsom said the government was “understandably keen to press ahead and get exploration underway” and added:

“This requires close partnership working between planning authorities, the industry, regulators and local communities.”

Planning delays

A decision on Cuadrilla’s Lancashire applications was postponed in January 2015 when the company asked for a deferral to present new information after planning officers recommended refusal.

On Third Energy’s Kirby Misperton application, North Yorkshire County Council asked the company several times for additional details or clarification on its submission.

In both Lancashire and North Yorkshire, the councils held extra public consultations on the new information

In Nottinghamshire, where IGas has applied to explore for shale gas at Misson, the county council has also asked the company for further information and an extra consultation is about to end.

Government consultation

The Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom also said the government would be consulting later in the year on plans for a shale gas sovereign wealth fund. DrillOrDrop asked the Department for Energy and Climate Change for more details but no one was able to respond this evening.

11 replies »

  1. It seems to me that the fracking companies fail to provide the necessary information, are slow to respond to legitimate questions from the planning officer or seek a deferral and then complain when matters are delayed. These companies just want everything on their terms with the government running at the back of them and the sad thing is that the government foolishly is. This will not end well, if the government rides roughshod over public opinion.

  2. What has it got to do with patience? It’s either a good investment or not. I suspect his comments come on the back of the share price of A J Lucas, one of Cuadrilla’s backers, dropping to 18.5 today?

    • Check Sherwulfe — Decimal point slip. Share price of Cuadrilla’s parent company, AJLucas, was 0.185 today.
      Still in the pits, despite yet another massive injection of cash announced on May 16th by Riverstone their Chinese investor. (Plus a promise of more to come if just one of the Lancashire sites is finally agreed by the Government.)
      Perhaps that’s why Mr Egan looks so jolly in the picture — but then, a ponzi scam needs lots of confidence puff.
      Has Andrea Leadom more enthusiasm for supporting the foreign financiers than showing proper understanding of the scientific aspects of the industry and real concern for the affected UK land and people?
      While AJLucas and Cuadrilla are consuming scores of millions of pounds, the guinea pig communities are burdened with heavy debts and much stress to try to defend themselves through the planning process. Sham democracy. Downright disgrace.

    • On 20/11/2013 PEDL 165 initial term was extended.Progression to second term is stated by DECC to require the surrender of 50% acreage on 30/06/2016. That means a total spent exploration time of 8 years. No wonder investors are becoming impatient.
      The reality is that Cuadrilla have created this time framework. In 2010 applications to drill were passed without the need for Committee approval. 0.99 hectare sites were chosen avoiding the need to conduct Environmental Impact Assessments, compulsory at 1 hectare. Fracking was not mentioned in the early applications. Did they really think local people would not start questioning what was going on? The 2011 earthquakes were their own doing.So was the time delay when DECC demanded reports and recommendations. Sham consultations and selective meetings again raised concerns and extended time.
      All applications sent to committee have been processed in the correct manner and within the correct time scale. Those supporting and those opposing were given the chance to speak. Democracy for all.
      8 years is along time just for first term with little to show. Investors are right to be concerned at the speed the industry has caused things to progress.

    • Michael Dobbie, I’m still waiting for your answers to information I put forward regarding the dangers of Fracking and the toxic legacy it will leave.
      ( my postings on the Third Energy article 12th May 2016 )

      You made a lot of accusations and asked a number of question, I responded. When can I expect to be in receipt of your answers, with supporting evidence ????

      I look forward to your detailed response at your earliest opportunity.

      • Jackthelad when I become beholding to you, which to you and your ilk will be never, then I’ll let you know, until then you just keep waiting.

        There is absolutely nothing to gain in communicating with the anti’s on this site, the crap, denial and scaremongering you and others put forward has absolutely “jack” to do with reality.

        Interesting to see if you go off whinging to Ruthie about the term “Jack”.
        Keep waiting there lad.

        • Thats the trouble with you MICHAEL DOBBIE, you do a lot of talking but say NOTHING.
          The only thing you seem to be any good at is childish remarks and foul language.

          What you say adds nothing to this forum, in fact you are a liability to the pro-fracking cause.

          You make sweeping statements and when challenged, back up what you have said with a big fat NOTHING.

          Although I may not agree with some of the members on this forum and at times debates have become lively. There is a mark of respect between people and the members have the intelligence not to step over certain boundaries with their behaviour. A quality that has been somewhat lacking with you Michael.

          As a concerned member of the public who has been told NOTHING by the Fracking Industry. I am grateful to the opposing side for their contributions on this forum. It has, right or wrong answered some of my questions and helped me to see things from different angles. Their contributions have also provided a valuable insight in to the workings of the Uk energy industry in general.

          This is the only place in the UK where any proper debate about the impacts of Fracking are being discussed. I therefore am grateful to members on both sides for their contributions. Unfortunately this does not include you Michael.

          For the record, I have NEVER complained to Ruth.

  3. Foreign investment is an integral part of viable economy. The same for green energy, renewables, and off-shore oil/gas all of which is partly or largely owned by foreign investors. UK companies also invest in other country. Some of the comments here are not accurate regarding Kerogen being only Chinese. They are run by partly some prominent British investors on their board of directors and some of these are British money. But that is not the point. The point is companies like iGas Caudrilla, Third Energy, INEOS etc use foreign investment money in risky projects like shale to develop energy source and supply for UK. These money can all go down th gutter if they find nothing.No British compny are willing to take such risks and so they have to rely on foregin investment.

  4. “Investors have patience but it’s not limitless.” Is this because they have lost patience with Mr Egan?

    Thanks for the correction Muriel…it was late 🙂
    Update today dropped to 0.18

  5. Hopefully the investors will get the message that we don’t want fracking and they should take their money elsewhere.

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