As ministers continue to argue in favour of shale gas as a sustainable, affordable form of power generation, Cuadrilla, a UK-based fracking company, has announced plans for two new exploration sites. The two proposed sites will be based in the Fylde. The exploration is planned so that the company can gain a deeper understanding of the potential of Lancashire’s shale gas supplies.
Before the exploration can be given the ahead, Cuadrilla needs to apply for planning permission. If approved, this will give permission to drill, hydraulically fracture, and test shale gas supplies
The two new sites for potential exploration have been named as Roseacre Wood and Preston New Road. In addition to the planning application, permission will also be sought for seismic arrays, which would be necessary to monitor the hydraulic fracturing process.
Ahead of the exploration work, an independent consultancy will carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment. Representatives from Cuadrilla are planning to talk to residents to discuss the plans and a public consultation is to be held; a scoping report will be submitted to Lancashire County Council to outline Cuadrilla’s approach to any of the necessary environmental assessments.
Commenting in a press release, Francis Egan, Cuadrilla’s Chief Executive, said:
“We’ve been working hard to assess our site options and have undertaken extensive technical and geological analysis. As a result of this work, we have decided to focus on just two sites at this time. This will allow us to reduce the potential impact on the local area during exploration while still gathering the important information we need to determine how much gas could be recovered. We’re committed to being a good neighbour and to talking with the community at every stage of the process.”
Plans to investigate the Lancashire area for the production of shale gas were first announced in 2012 and recent studies have shown that there is an increase in support for gas exploration in Lancashire.
Oil giant BP has argued that the use of shale gas is a more cost effective of replacing coal and reducing greenhouse emissions than the use of renewable energy. However, green groups have stated their concerns over how damaging the extraction of shale gas or fracking might be to the countryside.
And in a further push to promote shale gas exploration, some fracking companies are offering local communities £100,000 along with a percentage of the revenues from the shale gas production.