Fracking firm Cuadrilla ordered to abandon Britain’s ‘only viable’ shale gas wells

Green Party leader Caroline Lucas responded to the announcement, saying it was ‘brilliant news’

<p>A regulator has ordered wells to be sealed up at a Lancashire fracking site</p>

A regulator has ordered wells to be sealed up at a Lancashire fracking site

A fracking firm has been ordered by a regulator to permanently seal two controversial shale gas wells.

The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) told Cuadrilla to abandon the wells at a site in Lancashire – which the company called the “only viable” ones remaining in Britain.

The Green Party celebrated the move, declaring it a win for the anti-fracking movement.

The government suspended all fracking activity in 2019 over earthquake fears. This came after an expert report said it was not possible to accurately predict the danger of earth tremors stemming from the controversial process for extracting gas.

The two wells at the Preston New Road exploration site in Lancashire had not been in use since the moratorium came into force.

But the chief executive of Cuadrilla, Francis Egan, criticised the order to seal them up, claiming shale gas could help to “combat the cost-of-living crisis”.

Earlier this week, Jonathan Marshall, an economist at the Resolution Foundation think tank, told The Independent that UK onshore gas reserves were “far too small to make an impact” on the global price of gas – which is driving the current energy crisis and the increase in household bills.

Mr Egan also claimed that leaving domestic shale gas in the ground would “make reducing global emissions even harder” as emissions from gas imports were “far higher than those from home-produced shale gas”.

Fracking has been linked to an increase in emissions of methane – a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.

The site in Lancashire was found to have leaked a similar amount of methane to 142 transatlantic flights in research undertaken by Manchester University.

Caroline Lucas from the Green Party welcomed the announcement that the shale-gas wells would be sealed up. “Brilliant news & congratulations to all who’ve campaigned so hard for this,” she said.

The OGA said it expects licensees to manage redundant well stock “responsibly”, which includes the “timely plugging and abandonment of non-producing wells”.

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