U.K. #shale Hits Another Roadblock After "Perverse" Decision #uk #drilling #completions #regulations

By 29th June 2015 Industry News No Comments

It has been a terrible week for the prospects of UK shale gas exploration. Last Thursday, UK officials rejected an application submitted by Cuadrilla Resources to frac for shale gas in northwest England’s Roseacre Wood near Blackpool. And on Monday, a second application was rejected for Cuadrilla’s plans to drill at the Little Plumpton site on the Fylde coast in Lancashire.

The rejections of these applications are significant setbacks for David Cameron’s Conservative government, which has reduced taxes and relaxed planning regulations to cut dependence on imported gas with the aim of promoting the nascent shale gas industry.

The Little Plumpton site at Preston New Road is located between Preston and Blackpool; Credit: BBC

John Williams, a consultant at Poyry Management Consulting, told Bloomberg, “The expectation must be that Cuadrilla will appeal this decision…However, this decision is a serious setback for shale gas in the U.K. and many must be wondering if it can every reach production phase.”

These two rejections are but the latest setbacks for Cuadrilla, which early this year was forced to scale back drilling plans after Lancashire council planners opposed its applications for eight wells at two locations, citing concerns over traffic and noise.

According to a statement on its website, Cuadrilla said it was “surprised and disappointed” by the council’s Monday ruling. A spokesman told the BBC, “We remain committed to the responsible exploration of the huge quantity of natural gas locked up in the shale rock deep underneath Lancashire.”

Dr Adam Marshall, from the British Chambers of Commerce, told the BBC that the decision was “perverse, short-sighted and timid” and said “the government now needs to step in.”

Credit: dailymail.co.uk

On Friday, UKOG Chief Executive Ken Cronin commented on the Thursday application rejection, “We are saddened Lancashire County Council has rejected this application but it was expected given the officials’ report. The objections to this development are on narrow, local, site specific issues related to traffic, and on all the substantive environmental and safety matters relating to drilling of the well and hydraulic fracturing, the officials supported this application.”

The UK is estimated to contain large amounts of shale gas, and the government, led by recently reelected Prime Minister David Cameron, has been supportive of developing these reserves to compensate for falling North Sea production.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron; Credit: independent.co.uk

In addition to local and environmentalist opposition, Scotland lawmakers have imposed a moratorium on granting fracing permits.

So far, only one shale gas well in the UK has been hydraulically fraced. The Cuadrilla project near Blackpool was abandoned after it reportedly triggered an earth tremor that prompted the imposition of an 18-month ban on fracing. This was rescinded in 2012.

Since that time, only three shale gas fracing applications have been submitted- two by Cuadrilla and one by Third Energy.

IGas, INEOS and Egdon Resources are among the other companies active in the UK’s threatened, nascent shale gas efforts.

Feature Image Credit: telegraph.co.uk
Source: Industry News {$excerpt:n}