Further to the Business Secretary saying in the Commons on 9 March that “it did not necessarily make any sense to concrete over the wells” at the Preston New Road site in Lancashire, Francis Egan, CEO of Cuadrilla Resources, said:
“The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has set us a deadline of 30th June for filling our shale gas wells with concrete. Plugging and abandoning these two wells takes 2-3 months, which is why work’s starting next week. That means we have a rig contracted, waiting to travel to our site in Lancashire, costing dearly for every day it waits idle.
“I urgently request the Business Department and the OGA to formally withdraw its instruction to plug the wells. They should also put sensible protections in place to ensure that companies like Cuadrilla and others aren’t forced to suffer the risk and financial uncertainty of operating in a position where a Government can keep changing its mind and require wells to be cemented whilst they are still useful.
“30th June is still the legal deadline to cement these wells and delay in engaging with us effectively trumps what’s said in the House of Commons. Every minute counts and costs. It is not reasonable to expect business to reliably invest, create jobs and operate in these circumstances.”
Cuadrilla Bowland Limited is applying to Lancashire County Council for planning permission to extend by