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The Lancashire economy received nearly a £2m boost during the final quarter of 2018, when the first hydraulic fracturing into shale rock took place in the UK for seven years.

Data from Cuadrilla’s latest Putting Lancashire First tracker revealed that direct spend with suppliers in the county soared to £1.8m during the three months to 31 December. The amount of money suppliers sub-contracted to other businesses in Lancashire stood at £188,000.

Jill Overland, Finance & Business Services Director at Cuadrilla, said: “The final quarter of last year was a landmark few months for shale gas exploration in the UK, with the first hydraulic fracturing taking place in horizontal shale wells at our Preston New Road site.

“During this period we remained true to our Putting Lancashire First commitment with our local spend standing at nearly £2m. This local investment during our exploration phase is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the benefits the industry could deliver for the county going forward.”

Since the tracker was launched in 2016, Cuadrilla and its Lancashire suppliers have invested over £13m into the local economy and some 765 local businesses have registered their interest to supply the county’s nascent shale gas industry via the Supply Chain Portal hosted by the two local Chambers of Commerce.

Babs Murphy, Chief Executive at North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, said: “We’re pleased to see that Cuadrilla is investing significantly into the local economy and that Lancashire businesses should benefit from first-mover advantage as the industry develops.

“It is also encouraging to see that more and more companies are registering via the Shale Gas Supply Chain Portal to provide their services.”

Miranda Barker, CEO of East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, added: “The continued investment by Cuadrilla with the local supply chain, which now stands at over £13m, is an indication of what could come from this nascent industry. It is very positive to see very different businesses from right across the county wanting to support the sector in Lancashire.”

The portal allows companies to register their interest in supplying Lancashire’s shale gas industry, keep up to date with the latest developments with the exploration programme, including future contracting opportunities, and find out how to meet the quality and safety standards required. The portal can be accessed at: http://www.shalegaslancashire.co.uk/

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