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    Cuadrilla Gets Nod To Frack UK Wells


The UK has signed off its consent for fracking at Cuadrilla's two shale gas wells in northwest England.

by: Mark Smedley

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Cuadrilla Gets Nod To Frack UK Wells

The UK government said September 19 that Cuadrilla has fulfilled a condition set in July for it to be allowed to frack its first horizontal shale gas well in northwest England. It also simultaneously gave its final approval for Cuadrilla's second such well nearby to be fracked.

Cuadrilla CEO Francis Egan said: “We are delighted to receive this consent. We are currently completing works on site in readiness to start hydraulically fracturing both wells in the next few weeks."

When she consented the first well, energy minister Claire Perry said the condition was that either a full year’s accounts of Spirit Energy (69%-owned and controlled by Centrica, and a key partner of Cuadrilla) must be submitted to the government – something that was then not possible as the joint venture was formed late last year or that it "must provide [government] with evidence of the deposit of £557,000 in a suitable escrow account in support of your potential decommissioning cost liability.”  No hydraulic fracturing (fracking) would be allowed until one of the two conditions was fulfilled, she added.

In a letter dated September 19, Perry wrote to Egan to say that a set of Spirit Energy's unqualified audited report and accounts for the latest full financial year has now been received and scrutinised by officials at the UK's Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) - and that her department has judged that Spirit Energy does not represent a financial risk to Cuadrilla's drilling/fracking operation.

Cuadrilla last month asked the UK for final consent to frack at a second horizontal well nearby and, by way of a separate letter also dated September 19, Perry cleared that second well also to be fracked.  (Banner photo: Cuadrilla's 2011 Preese Hall drill rig, photo credit: the company)