The company behind controversial gas exploration work in Lancashire will hand over information which could kick-start the industry, a government minister has said.
John Hayes, the Energy Minister, has said he has asked Cuadrilla Resources for information about its hydraulic fracturing work in the county including details of how it tests for earth tremors.
The Government halted the programme, known as ‘fracking’, last year after two tremors were recorded on the Fylde coast.
Mr Hayes said he would also be asking for information about how it is managing the work and its timetable for moving from the exploration stage to pushing ahead with taking natural gas from the ground.
The minister told news agency Reuters: “I am confident that once those questions are complete, we can look again at the timetable for licensing new work.”
He added the data from Cuadrilla would allow him to ensure the correct regulation is in place before ‘fracking’ is allowed to resume.
Mr Hayes added: “I have further things to say about the regulatory framework, the oversight essential to assure absolute safety and security.”
The government is expected to unveil a new estimate for the amount of gas locked in shale rock under Lancashire, previously estimated at 5.66 trillion cubic metres, before the end of the year followed by a prediction of the rest of the country in 2013.
A spokesman for Cuadrilla Resources said: “Cuadrilla has been working closely with regulators, including the Government, throughout our operations to ensure that exploration for and the recovery of natural gas from shale rock is carried out to the highest standards.
“We are encouraged by the Energy Minister’s remarks and hope that the information we have provided to the Department for Energy and Climate Change will assist them as they prepare to license and regulate further activities.”
The Cuadrilla Resources spokesman added: “We are committed to continuing this co-operation so that we can gain approval for the work necessary to appraise this important energy resource.”