The shale gas company, Cuadrilla, spent $900,000 in six months last year mostly on strategies to lift the fracking moratorium and administer its UK licences, it emerged today.
In accounts for the first half of 2021, Cuadrilla’s Australian parent, Lucas Group, said it had “significantly scaled back operations” in the UK.
This was a response, it said, to the moratorium on fracking in England announced in November 2019 and still in force.
But in a statement to the Australian stock market, Lucas Group said:
“During the first half, the UK operations incurred administration and other expenses of $0.9 million, largely to support the maintenance of the Group’s licences and the pursuit of strategies to overturn the moratorium.”
“Lucas Group, together with other UK shale gas operators, have been working together and collaborating with the UK regulator to address its concerns around induced seismicity, so that the moratorium can be lifted.”
Earlier this month, Lucas Group announced the two horizontal fracked wells at its Preston New Road site in Lancashire would be plugged and abandoned. A well at the nearby gas site at Elswick is also to be abandoned.
This week, residents reported that one of the two flares at Preston New Road was no longer visible above the noise barrier.
Cuadrilla companies operate 10 UK onshore licences. But there are no producing sites in the licence areas and no permissions for exploration.
Lucas Group repeated its view today that UK onshore shale gas could be a “very significant and clean contributor to the UK energy supply”, particularly in the face of increased fuel costs. It said:
“The billions of pounds being spent annually on importing expensive gas from the Middle East, Russia and the US would be better directed on developing the UK’s substantial onshore shale gas resource.
“Exploiting this resource would help provide energy security for the UK, create a significant number of new jobs in the North of England and provide substantial tax revenues for the UK.”
The UK gets about half of its gas from the North Sea. Of gas imports, 55% comes from Norway, 20% from Qatar, 11% from the US and 5% from Russia.
Yesterday, the Climate Change Committee, which advises the UK government, dismissed fracking as an answer to rising fuel bills.
The chair, Lord Deben, said shale gas would cost the world price and would have no effect on reducing bills.
It would take a “serious period” of time to get UK fracked gas out of the ground, he said, by which time demand for gas should be falling significantly.
The CCC has said UK gas consumption would need to fall by about 65% by 2035 and be virtually eliminated by 2050.