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    Cuadrilla Injects Money into UK Region

Summary

'Unworkable' rules on fracking still limit the shale gas bonanza though.

by: William Powell

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Cuadrilla Injects Money into UK Region

The economy of the UK county Lancashire received nearly £2mn ($2.57mn) from privately owned producer Cuadrilla late last year when hydraulic fracturing into shale rock resumed after a seven-year pause.

Data from Cuadrilla’s latest Putting Lancashire First tracker revealed that direct spend with suppliers in the county soared to £1.8mn during the three months to 31 December. The amount of money suppliers sub-contracted to other businesses in Lancashire stood at £188,000, it said February 12.

Since the tracker was launched in 2016, Cuadrilla and its Lancashire suppliers have invested over £13m into the local economy and some 765 local businesses have registered their interest to supply the county’s nascent shale gas industry through the Supply Chain Portal hosted by the two local Chambers of Commerce. The chambers said that Lancashire businesses should benefit from first-mover advantage as the industry develops and that the £13mn so far was just the tip of the iceberg.

Caudrilla in early February reported good results, in the circumstances, from its first horizontal well, which it fracked. However the goverment has so far said it has no plans to ease the traffic light system now in place, whereby a tremor that measures 0.5 on the logarithmic Richter scale means fracking must temporarily stop. Quarrying and other activities generate far higher Richter readings.

This stop-start approach has led to poorer results over the period than would have been obtained if the threshold were higher and more proppant injected, and threatens the prospects of Lancashire receiving the rest of the hoped-for iceberg. Petrochemicals firm Ineos has said that the business is not workable unless the rules are changed, which could mean it abandons its own plans for fracking.