Some business experts have predicted that Lancashire could become the ‘financial hub’ for shale gas exploration and extraction in the UK and Europe, but how realistic is this statement?
As most of Lancashire must now be aware, there is a vast resource of natural gas underneath us. The issue is whether it can be extracted safely and economically.
Privately-owned exploration and production company Cuadrilla started exploration work in Lancashire three years ago and have reputedly invested over £100million in the shale gas project in the UK so far.
Work last year included a 3D survey of the majority of the Fylde and as a result of that research the process of assessing and selecting the best potential exploration and production sites has begun.
It’s very early stages yet, and these potential well sites are a closely guarded secret, but needless to say that we have been involved in detailed discussions on behalf of clients who have been approached already.
Contrary to popular opinion, the landowner does not hold the Golden Ticket because the gas and minerals belong to the Crown. The landowner will however receive a commercial rent for the occupation and use of their land.
The actual well site owners are not the only ones to potentially benefit financially from shale gas extraction. Cuadrilla is obliged to install a large number of ground monitoring boreholes within and around the locality of the well site and again we have been instrumental in the discussions about payments and terms of these boreholes.
Everything is still subject to obtaining planning consents from Lancashire County Council, but given the noises coming out of Parliament it would seem likely to happen at some point so our Lancashire landscapes might look a bit different in 10 years’ time.
Fylde will not be in the only area in Lancashire to be affected. There is already one well site under established in the South Preston area and feasibility studies being carried out in other parts such as the Wyre district.
If you require any advice or assistance on shale gas or renewable energy contact Richard Furnival BSc (Hons) MRICS FAAV