UK's Cuadrilla to seek ‘milestone’ shale approval this month

5/19/2014

UK's Cuadrilla to seek ‘milestone’ shale approval this month

NIDAA BAKHSH

LICHFIELD, United Kingdom (Bloomberg) -- Cuadrilla Resources Ltd. will seek planning approval this month for a shale-gas exploration well in northern England, a “milestone” in its efforts to bring the technology to the UK.

The explorer will apply to drill, hydraulically fracture and test the flow of natural gas at as many as four exploration wells at its Preston New Road site, with a decision by Lancashire County Council expected within 16 weeks, the Lichfield, UK-based company said today in an emailed statement. It will apply a few weeks later for its Roseacre Wood site, the company said.

The Bowland shale basin may hold as much as 1,300 Tcf of gas, the British Geological Survey says. That’s enough to meet demand for almost 50 years at an extraction rate similar to U.S. fields, according to Bloomberg calculations.

“This application could be a really important milestone for Lancashire and the UK,” CEO Francis Egan said.

The bid to develop fracing projects that release gas by blasting sand, water and chemicals at high pressure underground has raised concerns over polluted water supplies, earthquakes and greenhouse gas emissions. Tremors triggered by a Cuadrilla well in 2011 led to an 18-month moratorium on the practice.

The company is backed by U.S. private-equity firm Riverstone Holdings LLC.

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