Regulators, the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA), have today lifted an order for the fracking wells near Blackpool to be capped with concrete. Therefore, the fracking company Cuadrilla will not have to permanently seal up the shale gas wells at the end of June, as previously instructed by regulators.
Cuadrilla Chief Executive Francis Egan said: ‘I would like to thank the Prime Minister and the Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng for seeing the light and realising – just in time – how absurd it would have been to force us to pour concrete down Britain’s only two viable shale gas wells in the middle of an energy crisis.’ The company said the wells would now be temporarily plugged and suspended until at least the end of June next year.
The North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) said: ‘Cuadrilla applied for consent to keep its two Preston New Road wells and Elswick well on 28 March 2022. The NSTA has looked carefully at this application, alongside recent developments, and agreed to withdraw the requirement to decommission the wells by the end of June. Cuadrilla now have until the end of June next year to evaluate options for the Preston New Road and Elswick sites.’
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been under pressure from Conservative MPs to end a 2019 moratorium on fracking. The move comes ahead of the publication of the government’s delayed energy strategy.