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UK Official to Announce Recommendation on Shale Drilling by July 4

The government of the United Kingdom will decide an appeal by Cuadrilla Resources Ltd. over whether to allow hydraulic fracturing (fracking) at two sites in northwest England prospective to the Bowland-Hodder Shale.

Last July, the Lancashire County Council Development Control Committee denied Cuadrilla an application to drill up to four test wells at a site called Preston New Road, and four test wells at another site, Roseacre Wood (see Shale DailyJuly 6, 2015). Cuadrilla subsequently filed an appeal to the UK's Secretary of State for the Department for Communities and Local Government.

The Secretary of State's office appointed Wendy McKay as planning inspector in the dispute, and tasked her with preparing a report and making recommendations. The Lancashire Evening Post reported Monday that McKay will announce her recommendation by July 4. Her recommendation will then be analyzed by the Secretary of State's office, which will render a final decision.

Cuadrilla CEO Francis Egan told the newspaper that it welcomed McKay's report, and added that a five-week public inquiry into the company's plans, which was led by McKay, "has allowed a very full examination of our appeals."

Cuadrilla moved its headquarters to Lancashire last month. The company has been interested in drilling in the Borough of Fylde for more than two years (see Shale Daily, Feb. 7, 2014). "We are confident that shale gas exploration will bring many benefits to Lancashire, including our own direct investment in local people and suppliers for our new head office," Egan said last October.

In 2013, the British Geological Survey said there was a 50% chance the Bowland-Hodder Shale holds 1,329 Tcf of natural gas. It also released high and low estimates for the play, at 2,281 Tcf and 822 Tcf, respectively (see Shale Daily, June 28, 2013).

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