United Utilities News Update: United Utilities in Talks with Caudrilla
United Utilities News Update: United Utilities are in talks with Caudrilla with regards to the latter company exploring the former’s land for shale gas. Energy company United Utilities have entered into discussion with Cuadrilla – a company who explore shale gas – about fracking and the locations for the activity. It has transpired that there is a possibility that United Utilities will allow Caudrilla to explore their land.
“The utility supplies water across the North West, including the Bowland shale licence area where Cuadrilla hopes to resume fracking next year. It is also a major landowner, with 141,000 acres (57,000 hectares) stretching from Cumbria to Crewe.
United Utilities’ business development manager began talks with Cuadrilla within the last couple of months and the companies are ‘looking at potential opportunities for working together’, a spokeswoman for the water giant confirmed.
Fracking involves pumping large quantities of water along with chemicals and sand into the ground at high pressure to hydraulically fracture the rocks and extract gas trapped within them.
‘We are having very early engagement with Cuadrilla to try to understand their requirements,’ she said. ‘The fact that we are a large landowner in the North West means we could possibly help with site selection.’
The spokeswoman said that this could include United Utilities letting Cuadrilla frack on its land, although no specific plans are under discussion yet.
The disclosure comes just days after Water UK, the industry body of which United Utilities is a member, raised fears over fracking and demanded greater engagement with the shale industry.
Water UK said that fracking ‘could lead to contamination of the water supply with methane gas and harmful chemicals if not carefully planned and carried out’ and that it ‘requires huge amounts of water, which will inevitably put a strain on supplies in areas around extraction sites’.
A United Utilities’ spokeswoman said: ‘Clearly public health is a top priority but we are encouraged by the Government’s support for shale gas exploration because that means it is committed to a robust regulatory regime that will ensure the public water supply is protected.’
The engagement with Cuadrilla could potentially enable United Utilities to ‘point Cuadrilla to areas where there are no water supply issues’. It was ‘doing some very early modelling work’, she said.
The suggestion that United Utilities might want to allow fracking on its land in future could prove controversial. Aside from any fears over the water supply, the land lies ‘in some of the most scenic and environmentally sensitive areas of north west England’, according to the water group’s website.
United Utilities has supplied water for the one well that Cuadrilla has explored to date, near Blackpool in 2011. The fracking caused two small earth tremors, leading to an 18-month moratorium. Ministers have now thrown their weight behind the industry and last week unveiled tax breaks for shale explorers.
Cuadrilla is in the process of identifying six sites where it hopes to resume fracking next year after securing funding from Centrica in a £160m deal. The British Gas owner took a 25pc stake in its licence.
A Cuadrilla spokesman said: ‘We are talking to United Utilities about possible future sites and the timescales for potentially getting water supply to those areas.’”
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This article was originally sourced from The Telegraph.
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