March 11, 2019

The UK’s leading shale gas exploration company remobilised a range of specialist kit onto its flagship Lancashire fracking site today as new financial forecasting revealed the industry could create billions of pounds in economic benefits and thousands of new jobs.

Cuadrilla, which is based in Bamber Bridge, Lancashire, delivered a range of specialist equipment onto the shale gas exploration site in Preston New Road, near Blackpool, designed to get two existing wells ready for further hydraulic fracturing later this year. At this stage the equipment being mobilised does not including hydraulic fracturing pumps.

The operator, which is leading the way in establishing a new industry and domestic gas supply for the UK, said latest forecasts using flow test results from Preston New Road in January 2019 clearly identified the size of the opportunity for the UK.

Chief Executive Officer Francis Egan said: “The latest forecasting is clear about this opportunity. Based on our early well results as published in January, estimates now show the UK could reduce its dependency on imported gas by 50 per cent with just 60 sites, create £1.8bn in community benefits and up to 64,000 jobs by 2035. In addition the supply chain could benefit by up to £33bn. This is all achievable by simply investing in natural shale gas, establishing an energy policy that supports its development as part of a diverse energy mix and ensuring this significant resource is brought out of the ground to deliver these enormous benefits for everyone.”

The report was produced by UK Onshore Oil and Gas (UKOOG) by updating figures from an earlier forecasting document published by the Institute of Directors (IoD) in 2013. Incorporating the results from Cuadrilla’s first hydraulically fractured well in January, UKOOG have:

  • Upgraded original well productivity forecasts by 72 per cent from 2013
  • Calculated that each well site at peak production could provide gas for 500,000 homes
  • Estimated potential of 60 sites to reduce imports by around 50 per cent
  • Forecast community benefits of around £1.8bn
  • Predicted the creation of 64,000 jobs and £33bn spend with suppliers

In addition, research from the Committee on Climate Change has shown that shale gas extraction can be compatible with carbon targets. Analysis shows that, compared with higher lifecycle emission imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) the UK could save almost 70 million tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2035.

Francis Egan added: “We should not underestimate what is at stake here for the UK. Securing our domestic gas supply is only one part of this equation. Consider also the amount of tax revenue this industry could create and what improvements that could support in society. Consider also the alternative. Just last week, latest figures from Government revealed our reliance on LNG imported from Russia had risen dramatically in 2018 and now makes up about 20 per cent of all imported LNG into this country. This is an increase of about 20 per cent compared to 2017.

“Yet here we have a rich resource of high quality natural shale gas which would flow directly into the local grid with minimal treatment with each site providing enough gas for half a million homes. The forecast is clear that 60 sites could reduce our £7bn spend and reliance on imports by 50 per cent. It would boost our economy and ensure we have enough energy to heat our homes and food for many, many years to come.

“Cuadrilla has proved it is there and that we can extract it safely and in an environmentally responsible way. We’re back on site and we’re getting ready to make these estimations a reality. It is now imperative that people understand that they have nothing to fear from fracking and actually a huge amount to gain.”