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Cuadrilla to ask for more time for fracking at British site

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LONDON (Reuters) – British shale gas company Cuadrilla said it is seeking a change to planning permission conditions to give it more time for shale gas drilling at its site in Lancashire, England.

Last month, Cuadrilla said it would restart fracking at its Preston New Road site in the third quarter of this year after operations were halted several times due to minor seismic events.

Fracking, or hydraulically fracturing, involves extracting gas from rocks by breaking them up with water and chemicals at high pressure.

The company said it will write to Lancashire County Council in the next month to request a change to one of the conditions of planning permission at the site.

The condition requires all drilling and hydraulic fracturing operations to be completed within a period of 30 months from the date of starting drilling of the first well.

This would mean Cuadrilla would have to finish drilling and fracking by the end of November.

However, by the end of November the company is likely to have spent no more than 21 months in total drilling or fracking on site since it started drilling the first well, Cuadrilla said.

“Our proposed variation would seek to allow additional time for drilling and hydraulic fracturing operations but not to change either the existing approved work scope to drill and hydraulically fracture up to four wells at (Preston New Road) or the requirement for the site to be decommissioned and restored by April 2023,” Chief Executive Francis Egan said.

(Reporting by Nina Chestney, editing by Louise Heavens)

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