Sunday 13 November 2016 7:33 pm

Cuadrilla boss says the firm will look to raise fresh capital to support growth when the time is right

Britain's leading shale gas firm has confirmed plans to raise money from either the equity or debt markets "in due course".

Speaking to the House of Lords economic affairs committee, the chief executive of Cuadrilla, Francis Egan, gave an insight into the company's plans.

He explained that because the company – which is backed by a combination of private equity and engineering firms – receives no government funding, "in due course we'll have to go to equity markets or the debt markets to scale up".

Read more: The revenue well runs dry at Cuadrilla

“I think that there is still an appetite to invest in oil and gas in the UK and we'll be testing that," Egan said.

Egan was quizzed by members of the committee alongside Martin Pibworth, managing director of wholesale at Scottish and Southern Energy and Tor Martin, senior vice president at Statoil.

He expressed his frustration at the length of time that it was taking UK authorities to give shale gas exploration the full go-ahead. It had been "difficult" to drill wells, he said, adding that there had been thousands of wells drilled in the US during the time it had taken for his firm to be allowed to drill one.

"There is no natural reason for that to be the case.

"Our investors are patient. But taking four years to drill a well is beyond most people’s patience," he said.

Read more: Cuadrilla launches fracking appeal

Last month, Cuadrilla's filed financial statements showed that the firm had made a $18m (£14.3m) loss during 2015.

Losses had increased from $11m in 2014 because Cuadrilla was unable to generate significant revenues from hiring out of its exploration rigs to competitors – who had, in the main, stopped their own exploration.