AJ Lucas, the Australian owner of UK-based shale gas specialist Cuadrilla Resources, confirmed Monday that it is discussions with a number of parties regarding the future development of the Bowland Basin in Lancashire, England.
However, the company added that the discussions were at a "preliminary stage" and that it was not in a position to advise whether any agreement will result from them.
The statement followed weekend press speculation that UK-based gas multinational Centrica was in talks to buy a major stake in Cuadrilla. In a phone call with Rigzone Monday morning (UK time), a spokesman for the firm said: "We don't comment on market rumor and speculation."
Cuadrilla itself issued a statement that it had nothing to add to the confirmation of discussions made by its parent company.
Cuadrilla Resources is the UK's main company that is active in shale gas drilling in the country. In September 2011, it was reported that a significant amount of gas (since estimated at 300,000 trillion cubic feet of gas) was bound up in shale rock at the Bowland Basin.
But the development of shale gas in the region proved controversial after fracking-related earthquakes occurred in Lancashire in the spring of 2011, which led to a ban on fracking.
This ban was lifted on Dec. 13 2012 following a statement from UK Chancellor of the Exchequer on Dec. 5 announcing plans to better exploit the UK's gas resources.