Clock Ticking for Kwasi to Save England’s Shale Gas Option

Earlier this week, Guido reminded BEIS they still hadn’t actually confirmed to energy firm Cuadrilla that they will call off plans to permanently seal off the only two viable shale gas wells in England. The Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng told the Commons on Wednesday that “it did not necessarily make any sense to concrete over the wells”. So why hasn’t Kwasi given the order to call off the concreting over yet? As Cuadrilla’s CEO Francis Egan pointed out, this was pretty crucial for his firm, given they’re scheduled to begin pouring concrete down the wells next week. Unless Kwasi gives him a call, “nothing has changed” as far as Egan is concerned…

Two days have passed and still nothing has changed. BEIS are running down the clock. Last night Egan put out another fraught statement imploring the government to get their act together and let Cuadrilla call off the cement mixers and turn the trucks around:

“The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has set us a deadline of 30th June for filling our shale gas wells with concrete. Plugging and abandoning these two wells takes 2-3 months, which is why work’s starting next week. That means we have a rig contracted, waiting to travel to our site in Lancashire, costing dearly for every day it waits idle.

“I urgently request the Business Department and the OGA to formally withdraw its instruction to plug the wells. They should also put sensible protections in place to ensure that companies like Cuadrilla and others aren’t forced to suffer the risk and financial uncertainty of operating in a position where a Government can keep changing its mind and require wells to be cemented whilst they are still useful.

“30th June is still the legal deadline to cement these wells and delay in engaging with us effectively trumps what’s said in the House of Commons. Every minute counts and costs…”

The OGA’s deadline is the 30th June, consequently the concrete starts flowing next week unless Egan is officially told otherwise. It’s all very good for Kwasi to stand in the Commons and claim the government “supports shale gas exploration if it’s done safely”, it can’t be done at all if the well is cemented over...

mdi-timer 11 March 2022 @ 13:30 11 Mar 2022 @ 13:30 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
UK Energy Firm Still Planning to Seal Off Shale Gas Wells Next Week

Despite reports that Downing Street is considering a U-turn on plans to concrete up England’s two viable shale gas wells in Lancashire – and a No.10 spokesperson this morning claiming “all options” are on the table, including fracking – it looks like those plans still haven’t actually reached the desk of the man instructed to pour the concrete. According to Francis Egan, CEO of Cuadrilla Resources, the government has kept him in the dark on whether they’ve reversed the mandate. As far as he’s concerned, the wells are still set to be blocked off next week…

In a statement released this afternoon, Egan said:

“We note with interest the reports that the Prime Minister wants ministers to step in to stop the UK’s only two viable shale gas wells being filled with concrete in the middle of an energy crisis. It’s clear that the UK must do everything it can to secure domestic gas supply and not tolerate Putin’s vice-like grip over our energy costs. I await contact from the Business Department to confirm these reports.

Cuadrilla’s plans to plug the Lancashire shale wells under Government mandate are very advanced and the rig will still be arriving on site next week. British consumers, whose energy bills are soaring, will wonder what on earth this Government’s priorities are. We remain open to any other proposals or ideas the Government may have, but as things stand nothing has changed.”

Sounds like someone in BEIS needs to get on the phone to Egan quickly. Hurry the frack up…

mdi-timer 9 March 2022 @ 14:34 9 Mar 2022 @ 14:34 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments