Queen could benefit from UK shale gas boom
BY ROWENA MASON
Firms are preparing to start exploring for the new gas resources across vast swathes of the north-east, northwest, south and Scotland, after ministers lifted a ban on "fracing" this week.
One of these companies, Cuadrilla Resources, is now considering whether to launch a new project in Lancashire on land owned by the Duchy of Lancaster.
The historic royal estate has a portfolio of land, property and assets "held in trust for the sovereign in his or her role as Duke of Lancaster", so any benefit would ultimately go to the Queen.
Cuadrilla confirmed has spoken to the landowner, about getting permission to drill.
The actual gas trapped underground belongs to the Crown Estate and money raised from the sale of licences to drill would therefore go to the taxpayer.
"We do have to get permission from the landowner to drill and carry out seismic and as part of that they would be paid," a Cuadrilla spokesman said. "But mineral rights all belong to state."
A spokesman for the Duchy of Lancaster told a local newspaper, the Garstang Courier: "We have been approached by Cuadrilla regarding a potential fracking site, but will not consider a licence for this work without the necessary planning consents and safety assurances.
“The Duchy does not receive any money from the gas itself, as it only controls the land." “Should Cuadrilla wish to access the gas from Duchy land then it would require a licence to drill which would have to be granted by the Duchy.”
Under the technique, companies pump liquids into the ground to fracture the rock and release gas. Countryside campaigners fear it could scar the landscape and pollute drinking water.
However, Edward Davey, the Energy Secretary, has promised the process will be safe and subject to tight environmental regulations.