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Issue:- Saturday Night, 19 December 2015

Headlines and reports on this page = 1 news items.    Page - 14.

Should we expect a "Gas Rush" on Merseyside and Lancashire?

ON 17 December 2015, the UK Government's Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) issued licenses for 159 new areas for shale prospects to be explored and tested. The announced stated that:- "159 onshore blocks under the 14th Onshore Oil and Gas Licensing Round are being formally offered to successful applicants. These blocks will be incorporated into 93 onshore licences." This could now mean that in 2016 fracking exploration could start to take place across, North Merseyside, in and around Southport and Formby. The move also lets companies look closer at West Lancashire, like Banks and Burscough, along with areas in and around Fleetwood, Preston, Leyland, and Chorley.

If the conventional drilling sites prove successful, Francis Egan, CEO of Cuadrilla, said:- "The massive potential for the natural gas to be extracted in these areas could help to drive the Northern Powerhouse by securing the low carbon energy future of the UK as well as creating investment and local jobs across the region."

This could mean a massive financial and job boost to some of the local economies, that has up to now have been struggling to pull out of the damage inflicted by the recession.

OGA Chief Executive Andy Samuel said:- "I'm pleased that the 14th Onshore Round attracted strong interest and a high quality of proposed work programmes. This round enables a significant amount of the UK's shale prospects to be taken forward to be explored and tested. Upon acceptance of these offers, applicants will be issued with licences and will be able to begin planning their future strategies for exploration activities. These will be subject to further local planning, safety, environmental and other authorisations."

Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom after the announced said:- "We have set out the vital role gas will play in the UK's transition to a low carbon future. The licences offered today move us a step closer; driving forwards this industry which will provide secure, home grown energy to hardworking families and businesses for decades to come. Alongside conventional drilling sites, we need to get shale gas moving. As the Task Force for Shale Gas report found earlier this week, with the right standards in place fracking can take place safely. Now is the time to press ahead and get exploration underway so that we can determine how much shale gas there is and how much we can use."

But others like Frack Off are worried about the environmental and safety issues of the process. So are you for Shale Gas exploration or not? Please email us to:- News24@SouthportReporter.Com.

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