Losses mount up for shale gas company

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The company which aims to frack for shale gas in Lancashire has seen its losses increase.

Cuadrilla Resources has reported pre-tax losses for the year ending December 2016 of $11.54m – around £9m.

But its losses have fallen from $17.67m in the previous year after the Bamber Bridge- based firm cut its costs and shed a handful of staff as it moved to Lancashire from the Midlands.

Its bid to generate millions through gas sales has been on hold since the Blackpool earth tremors in 2011 and it has been forced to await legal challenges over the go-ahead for drilling.

It has now started to prepare for test drilling at Preston New Road, Little Plumpton.

Opponents of fracking said the firm’s financial report shows that the industry’s claims of creating thousands of jobs are untrue.

But the company said it was confident it was on schedule.

The company’s revenue was down in 2016 to $12,000, from $219,000 in 2015 and $5.17m in 2014 with a decline in renting out its drill rig and well services.

Chief executive Francis Egan criticised some protestors in the company report accusing some of “irresponsible and intimidating behaviour”.

But he said Cuadrilla was confident of drilling two horizontal wells at Preston New Road and fracking them, with gas flow tested and gas flowing into the national grid early in 2018.

He said: “Since we have been operational at Preston New Road at the start of 2017 we have recruited and are continuing to recruit to fill those jobs, along with new roles.

“Shale gas exploration requires significant investment in order to generate a revenue stream and Lancashire has already benefited from £1.4m of that expenditure in the first quarter of this year alone.”

Cuadrilla’s plans were given the go-ahead by the Government in 2016.