UK fracking firm produces first shale gas

UK energy company Cuadrilla said it has extracted a small but “encouraging” amount of shale gas for the first time since resuming fracking in Britain less than three weeks ago. (AFP)
Updated 03 November 2018
0

UK fracking firm produces first shale gas

LONDON: UK energy company Cuadrilla said Friday it has extracted a small but “encouraging” amount of shale gas for the first time since resuming fracking in Britain less than three weeks ago.
The 11-year-old private firm has borne the brunt of protests for trying to test whether fracking — a process in which water and chemicals are used to blast apart rock formations — can unlock natural gas deposits in the UK.
The method has transformed the global energy market but is only developing slowly in Europe.
“The volumes of gas returning to surface at this stage are small,” Cuadrilla chief executive Francis Egan said in a statement.
“However it provides early encouragement that the Bowland Shale can provide a significant source of natural gas to heat Lancashire and UK homes and offices and reduce our ever growing reliance on expensive foreign imports.”
Government data show natural gas being used to meet around 40 percent of Britain’s power and nearly 90 percent of its heating needs.
But UK gas production rates have been falling and it became a net importer of the fuel in 2004.
Firms such as Cuadrilla are hoping to step in and begin meeting some of the demand that is now primarily being filled by energy-rich Norway.
Cuadrilla produced small amounts of shale gas at the same site in 2011.
It was then forced to halt operations because two small earthquakes were soon registered in the northwestern part of England where its operations are based.
It resumed work on October 15 after adopting more stringent safety and regulatory measures that environmentalists said were still insufficient.
The company has since been forced to briefly halt drilling on three occasions because minor tremors began being detected deep underground.
Cuadrilla stressed at the time that none of them could either be felt or cause physical damage on the surface.
“This Preston New Road site is being monitored to an unprecedented level,” Egan said in Friday’s statement.
Greenpeace UK chief John Sauven called the fracking announcement a blow to campaigners’ efforts to win government backing for alternative fuels such as wind power.
“It is truly bewildering how little fossil fuel companies need to offer in order to get whole-hearted, full-throated government support, and how much clean technologies can offer and still be blocked,” Sauven said.
Cuadrilla said on its website that tests from 2011 suggest it can produce 6.5 billion cubic feet (185 million cubic meters) of gas from the Bowland Shale well over 30 years.
The figure corresponds to about five times the volume of gas produced in Britain last year.


Emirates Airline half-year profit slides 86% on oil hike

Updated 15 November 2018
0

Emirates Airline half-year profit slides 86% on oil hike

DUBAI: Emirates Airline on Thursday posted an 86 percent drop in half-year profits as the Middle East's leading carrier was hit by a hike in oil prices and currency devaluations.
The Dubai-based airline in a statement its net profit in the six months to September 30 was also impacted by other challenges and expected tough months ahead.
Emirates said it recorded a profit of just $62 million in the first half of the 2018-2019 fiscal year compared with $452 million in the same period last year.
"The high fuel cost as well as currency devaluations in markets like India, Brazil, Angola and Iran, wiped approximately 4.6 billion dirhams ($1.25 billion) from our profits," said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, chairman and chief executive of Emirates Group.
Emirates, one of the world's biggest airlines, said fuel costs rose by 42 percent compared with the same period last year.
The company, which flies to more than 150 destinations, said the cost of fuel amounted to a third of its expenses.
Emirates is the world's largest operator of Airbus A380s with more than 100 of the superjumbos in its fleet.
"The next six months will be tough, but the Emirates Group's foundations remain strong," Sheikh Ahmed said in a statement.
In the six months to September 30, the airline carried 30.1 million passengers, a rise of three percent on the last fiscal year, the company said.
Emirates' revenues were 10 percent higher than the previous year at $13.3 billion.
"We are proactively managing the myriad challenges faced by the airline and travel industry, including the relentless downward pressure on yields and uncertain economic and political realities in our region and in other parts of the world," said Sheikh Ahmed.
Profit for the Emirates Group, which also includes Dnata, a leading air services provider, was also down by 53 percent to $296 million.