Fracking

Cuadrilla statement on shale after shares transfer

Bowland shale is found in the north of England....

Cuadrilla's exploration work has shown that the Bowland shale is a world-class resource containing large volumes of high-quality indigenous gas that will flow to the surface. We continue to believe that indigenous gas production is preferable to importing increasing quantities of overseas gas with up to double the pre-combustion emissions and no economic benefit for UK workers, businesses or communities."

Cuadrilla spokesman

The statement comes after private equity firm Riverstone has sold its 45% stake in Cuadrilla, the UK's only fracking firm, to Australian mining firm AJ Lucas.

The latter, which was already Cuadrilla's largest shareholder, now has a 93% stake. The size of the deal has not been disclosed.

Major Cuadrilla investor backs out

Riverstone sells its 45% stake to Cuadrilla's leading shareholder

Fracking site in Lancashire
Cuadrilla/PA

Private equity firm Riverstone has sold its 45% stake in Cuadrilla, the UK's only fracking firm, to Australian mining firm AJ Lucas.

The latter, which was already Cuadrilla's largest shareholder, now has a 93% stake. The size of the deal has not been disclosed.

It comes after Cuadrilla saw its most recent extraction attempt in Lancashire suspended after causing an earthquake registering 2.9 on the Richter scale. Cuadrilla has struggled to produce and sell natural gas amid tight UK government regulation.

The government launched a moratorium in November halting the production method and exploration with immediate effect, and also warned shale gas firms that they would not support future fracking projects.

But AJ Lucas thinks the moratorium will eventually be lifted. It says it envisages "limited, if any, operational activities", at the suspended Preston New Road site in 2020.

The remaining 7% stake in the company is primarily owned by current and former employees.

Fracking shares slump after Government action

Anti-fracking campaigners
Getty Images
Anti-fracking campaigners

Shares in firms linked to fracking in Britain have slumped this morning after the UK government halted shale gas extraction over earthquake fears.

The indefinite suspension cam after a report by the Oil and Gas Authority said it was not possible to predict the probability or size of tremors caused by the practice.

Shares in AJ Lucas, the Australian energy services group that owns 48% of UK fracking company Cuadrilla, closed down 23% on the Australian Stock Exchange.

IGas, which had been hoping to follow Cuadrilla into fracking, fell more than 25% in early trading before recovering slightly. It's currently down 14% on the day.