IGas Energy Plc (LON:IGAS) shares rallied around 25% in Tuesday’s early deals as the UK shale gas sector received a shot in the arm with the approval of a planning application for a fracking programme in North Yorkshire.
It is the first time in over five years that a UK fracking project is able to go ahead, following the suspension of Cuadrilla’s operations near Blackpool which caused earth tremors.
As such it marks an important milestone in the anticipated scaling up in the UK shale gas sector, assuming the operational elements the project goes off without a hitch.
IGAS has interests in shale gas projects in Lancashire, Cheshire, North Wales and Nottinghamshire - so the breakthrough potentially marks something of a de-risking event for the AIM quoted share.
City stockbroker VSA Capital has said that fracking could potentially now take place in the UK before the end of 2016, so long as opponents do not delay operations by bringing a legal challenge against it.
“This is positive for all holders of shale gas acreage,” the broker said in a note.
It added: “Eyes will now turn to Cuadrilla’s appeal at Little Plumpton and Roseacre Wood, and IGAS’ application at Springs Road where decisions on both are expected over the summer.”
IGas Energy is one of very few investible plays on UK shale, and of those that are investible it is the most significant.
It has, pending confirmation of new licences, about one million acres in the UK that deemed to be prospective for shale.
Whilst it has only done work on small portions of that it beleives it has already identified huge gas resources. Estimates put that resource at 80 trillion cubic feet of gas-initially-in-place (GIIP).
In early deals on AIM, IGas shares gained 3.75p, 24.59%, to change hands at 19p (they traded as high as 21p this morning).