Cuadrilla in ‘Advanced’ Talks With Energy Major on U.K. Shale

Cuadrilla Resources Ltd. is in advanced talks to sell a stake in its U.K. shale gas operations, according to shareholder AJ Lucas Group Ltd.

“Cuadrilla’s negotiations with leading energy companies are at an advanced stage,” Sydney-based AJ Lucas, said in a presentation this month. Definitive documents are being finalized, it said.

Cuadrilla Chairman John Browne declined to comment today while attending a conference in London.

The British government’s lifting of a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, at the end of last year, opens the way for companies to begin drilling wells and tap into shale resources that made the U.S. the top natural gas producer. Cuadrilla’s Bowland Basin in northwest England holds about 200 trillion cubic feet of gas, the company has said, although only a fraction of that will be recovered.

“Cuadrilla is currently negotiating a farm-in to Bowland with a leading energy company,” said AJ Lucas, 43.7 percent shareholder in Cuadrilla, without naming the potential investor.

Total SA Chief Executive Officer Christophe de Margerie said last week France’s largest oil company was considering investing in U.K. shale drilling. Royal Dutch Shell Plc CEO Peter Voser has also said it’s looking at investing.