Cuadrilla Resources

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.

Is the future of fracking now in doubt?

Simon Jack

BBC Business Editor

Cudarilla boss: It's better to use our own gas

The National Audit Office officially has no opinion on whether fracking should continue on these shores, but its findings resemble a collection of nails available to be driven into the coffin of a once trumpeted shale gas revolution.

In 2013, there were heady promises that gas extracted from fracturing shale rock with water under high pressure could revolutionise the UK energy industry.

A technology that had changed the US energy industry and geopolitics with it could provide a bonanza of benefits to the UK.

As the gas from the North Sea dwindled, fracking would step in to make the UK less reliant on foreign imports that make up 60% of our gas supply.

This home grown resource would see prices fall and security of supply rise. It would provide tens of billions of new investment and tens of thousand of jobs in areas that desperately needed it and all this could be done safely and environmentally responsibly.

The NAO report is a hammer blow to those aspirations.

Read more here

A future for fracking?

Protesters at a Cuadrilla site
Getty Images
Protesters at a Cuadrilla site

Getting fracking up and running in England has been slower than expected, says a report by National Audit Office.

Given the issues surrounding this method of extracting gas - including environmental concerns - does fracking have a future in the UK?

Francis Egan, chief executive shale gas operator Cuadrilla, says: "The most critical assumption is, is the gas there? Is it good quality? Is it producible?

"We will answer yes, yes and yes."

He adds: "Now, after that is a question for the UK government and for UK policymakers as to how quickly they want to exploit and develop that resource. Whatever they do, we will be using gas for decades to come and our argument still consistently is we should develop our own gas rather than rely on imports."

What Really Happened in Balcombe?

The Corrections is the series which looks at how journalists tell news stories.
The Corrections re-visits four new stories which left the public with an incomplete picture about what really happened.

In 2013 the West Sussex village of Balcombe was the site of a showdown between anti-fracking protesters and the energy company Cuadrilla. Fracking – or hydraulic fracturing – involves pumping water, sand and chemicals into rock at high pressure to fracture it and release oil or gas that’s trapped there. It’s controversial. 

But, in fact, there was no fracking in Balcombe that summer. 

So why did the "battle" there become such a significant national news story?

Produced and presented by Jo Fidgen and Chloe Hadjimatheou.