Business

Cuadrilla says it hopes to overturn fracking suspension

Cuadrilla Resources site in Lancashire Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Fracking at Cuadrilla Resources site in Lancashire in August caused a 2.9 magnitude earth tremor

Energy company Cuadrilla has said it hopes to "address concerns" about fracking so that a moratorium announced by the government can be overturned.

At the weekend, ministers called a halt to the practice following research from the Oil and Gas Authority.

It raised concerns about the ability to predict fracking-linked earthquakes.

But Cuadrilla, which was forced to suspend work at its Preston New Road site after a series of tremors, said it would continue to give regulators data.

It said it hoped "to address concerns so that the moratorium can be lifted" and that the Bowland gas resource - which stretches across northern England - could be "further appraised and developed".

On Monday, Business and Energy Secretary Andrea Leadsom confirmed the "effective moratorium" in a written statement to the House of Commons.

She said it would be "maintained until compelling new evidence is provided which addresses the concerns around the prediction and management of induced seismicity".

However, the government is under pressure to make the ban permanent, amid concerns ministers - who have previously been supportive of fracking - are using it as an election ploy.

Why frack?

Fracking is a process in which liquid is pumped deep underground at high pressure to fracture shale rock and release gas or oil trapped within it.

Assessment by the British Geological Survey in 2013 suggested there were enough resources in the Bowland resource across northern England to potentially provide up to 50 years of current gas demand.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Local communities and environmental groups have protested against fracking

Others, however, have questioned these findings.

Previously the government said shale development would provide opportunities for jobs and investment, and could play a "key role" in maintaining energy security.

But the industry has faced fierce opposition from both communities and environmental groups, at a time when there is growing concern about the role of fossil fuels in climate change.

It is not impossible, however, that the current moratorium could be lifted.

Fracking previously faced a moratorium during the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government that was overturned after just one year.

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