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 david.simister@champnews.com
Tuesday, 11 December 2012 (3033480)
Government backing for fracking
by David Simister


THE company behind a controversial shale gas drilling site in Banks has welcomed plans by the Government to support and regulate the industry.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, announced as part of last week's Autumn Statement that plans were afoot to open an Office for Unconventional Gas to ensure a “simplified and streamlined regulatory process” for the exploitation of shale gas in the UK, in a process known as ‘fracking'.

Cuadrilla, which has a shale gas exploration site in the West Lancashire village, said it was supportive of the plans, which it believes will make it simpler to operate in the UK while addressing safety concerns.

Francis Egan, Cuadrilla's chief executive, said: “In the UK, our activities fully comply with one of the world’s tightest regulatory systems for oil and gas,”said. “We welcome any initiative that streamlines decision-making processes while ensuring that all shale gas extraction conforms to the highest environmental and health and safety standards.

”We welcome the government's initiative to help the emerging shale gas industry get established.“

Cuadrilla is keen to push ahead with shale gas drilling in Lancashire, and has said it believes there is 200 trillion cubic feet of gas trapped beneath the surface, the drilling of which could provide a major boost to the region's economy. However, the company's UK operations are currently suspended after they were linked to tremor activity in the Fylde area.

Ribble Estuary Against Fracking were unable to comment on the latest developments before this week's edition went to press but fellow anti-fracking group Residents Against Fylde Fracking said: ”George Osborne’s Autumn Statement concerning shale gas said very few words but spoke of tax relief for the industry; indicating a green light to this controversial practice. The statement held no surprises.

“This government has continually turned its back on green energy, trumpeted ‘a ‘dash for gas’ policy and surrounded itself with ministers and advisors who have more than a little vested personal interest in shale gas.”

Cuadrilla's operations involve ‘fracking', which sees thousands of gallons of water and chemicals pumped beneath the ground to fracture a level of shale, allowing the company to extract the gas trapped beneath it.






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