Shares in the UK’s fracking companies plummeted this morning, after the government announced a moratorium on the controversial extractive technique over the weekend.
Shares in Australian firm AJ Lucas, which owns a 47.4 per cent stake in leading exploratory company Cuadrilla, fell 24 per cent.
London-listed IGas, which runs exploratory operations in the east of England, were down 9.6 per cent, and independent onshore gas firm Egdon Resources saw its trading price fall nearly 22 per cent.
On Saturday, ministers took the decision to call a halt to fracking operations on the basis of a report by the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), which found that it is impossible to accurately predict the probability or magnitude of earthquakes linked to fracking operations.
Business secretary Andrea Leadsom said: “After reviewing the OGA’s report into recent seismic activity at Preston New Road, it is clear that we cannot rule out future unacceptable impacts [of fracking] on the local community.
The companies were resolute in the face of the announcement. In a statement, IGas chief executive Stephen Bowler said:
“We have confirmed a world-class resource at our site in North Nottinghamshire and remain committed to working with regulators to demonstrate that we can operate safely and environmentally responsibly as we have done for decades.
“We, as a country, need to decide whether we are in control of own our carbon footprint or whether we are reliant on imports.
“Domestically produced gas would generate skilled jobs and investment into the country whilst upholding some of the highest environmental standards in the world.”
Ken Cronin, chief executive of industry body UK Onshore Oil and Gas, said:
“Hydraulic fracturing stimulation is a long-standing technology used around the world and in a number of industries, including the oil and gas, water and geothermal sectors.
“Going forward, we are fully committed to working closely with the Oil and Gas Authority and other relevant regulators to demonstrate that we can operate safely and environmentally responsibly.”
“Given the size of the prize at stake – the significantly lower carbon footprint of domestic gas compared to imports and the significant investment the industry and the Government have already made – we believe this is the right approach.”
Main image credit: Getty