Cuadrilla UK's shale gas fracking delayed by bad weather

BLACKPOOL, England (Reuters) - British energy company Cuadrilla said on Saturday the planned start of fracking a shale gas well at its Lancashire, north west England, site has been delayed by poor weather.

The privately owned company had said on Friday it would commence fracking at the site on Saturday after a court removed the final hurdle to the first hydraulic fracturing in Britain in seven years.

But heavy rain and strong winds halted the works.

“We won’t actually be starting the hydraulic fracturing pumps today due to a brief delay with the weather conditions yesterday and this morning, so we’ll therefore be starting on Monday,” said a Cuadrilla spokesman.

The firm will spend three months fracking two horizontal wells, which involves injecting sand, water and chemicals to split the tightly packed shale rock and induce gas to flow out.

This will be the first fracking of a horizontal shale gas well since a 2011 attempt by Cuadrilla caused earth tremors, prompting protests, tighter regulations and delays.

A local resident wanted the fracking suspended to allow for a judicial review of the local council’s safety procedures, but a High Court judge dismissed the case on Friday.

About 25 anti-fracking protesters and a small police presence were at the site on Saturday.

Reporting by Andrew Yates, writing by James Davey. Editing by Catherine Evans