Cuadrilla mulls future investor growth plans

Michael Bow
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CUADRILLA Resources, the Staffordshire based shale gas explorer, is in talks with potential investors over taking a potential stake in the business amid growing investment interest in the UK shale gas sector.

The company, currently the sole driller for shale gas in the UK using hydraulic fracturing or fracking, is understood to be holding talks with oil and gas corporations to tap future investment into the firm.

Cuadrilla is jointly owned by US private equity firm Riverstone and Australian mining group AJ Lucas, with management also owning 18 per cent.

Last month, the government lifted a ban on controversial shale gas exploration by Cuadrilla in Blackpool, which was linked to two mini-earthquakes in the region.

It is understood one of the names in the frame to take a stake in Cuadrilla is British Gas owner Centrica. A company spokesman did not comment on the speculation last night.

The government has been eager to explore the UK’s shale gas potential following the success of the industry in the US.

Chancellor George Osborne previously floated the idea of offering tax breaks for shale gas investors.

Cuadrilla has been slowly building a heavyweight line up of energy executives since its formation in 2007 to push the firm.

Former BP chief executive Lord Browne, who is also a partner at Riverstone, was made chairman.

Cuadrilla also appointed former BHP Billiton executive Francis Egan as chief executive in July.