British Gas owner Centrica sets sights on shale gas drilling licences
News that British Gas owner Centrica is in talks to buy into Cuadrilla Resources, chaired by former BP boss Lord Browne, could prove a major boost to the UK's nascent shale gas industry.
Sources confirmed that Centrica is negotiating to buy into the Bowland Shale licences owned by Cuadrilla in Lancashire.
"This would be a real boost for UK shale development," said Peter Atherton, an analyst at Liberum Capital. "Centrica brings great resources and great upstream experience."
Cuadrilla, which is part-owned by the private-equity fund of which Lord Browne is a director, suffered a blow in 2011 when operations were suspended following earthquakes in the area in which it was fracking.
Chancellor George Osborne, though, is a fan of shale gas, and Centrica seems convinced that fracking could be the way of increasing reserves and reducing energy bills.
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