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    (File) Protesters hold placards at the Preston New Road site where Energy firm Cuadrilla are setting up fracking (hydraulic fracturing) operations at Little Plumpton near Blackpool in northwest England on January 10, 2017

    UK Shale Gas Companies Expect to Launch Fracking in 2018 Amid Protests – Reports

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The UK shale gas companies expect to launch a large-scale fracking of gas in the northern English counties of Yorkshire and Lancashire in 2018 amid protests of environmentalists against the authorities’ decision to grant permission for such activities, the Guardian newspaper reported Monday.

    "We will see results next year. None of us can say with certainty what the results will be, of course," CEO of Cuadrilla company Francis Egan said in relation to the start of fracking in the United Kingdom, as quoted by the newspaper.

    The upcoming year will be crucial for the shale gas industry in the United Kingdom, the corporate affairs director of the IGas company Ann-Marie Wilkinson noted.

    "In terms of moving the industry forward, it [2018] is very significant. The most important thing is to demonstrate it can be done safely and environmentally safe, and bring communities along with us," Wilkinson noted, as quoted by the newspaper.

    In October 2016, UK authorities issued a permit to the Cuadrilla energy company to carry out hydraulic fracturing activities at the Preston New Road site, overturning the decision of Lancashire County Council to ban fracking in the area. The decision has been widely criticized by local residents and environmentalists, who have already lodged lawsuits against it, however, the courts, including the High Court, have rejected the claims.

    READ MORE: Trump Auctions Over 33,400 Acres of Public Lands in Nevada for Fracking

    Hydraulic fracturing or fracking is a technology that allows the extraction of shale hydrocarbons by injecting pressurized toxic liquid into the ground. Fracking has been largely criticized by its opponents for the risks posed to the environment and people's health, as well as for the tremors caused by the technology.

    The shale gas deposits, located mainly in the north of UK England country, may hold at least 1,300 trillion cubic feet of gas, which could supply the United Kingdom for a period of 25 years, according to the 2013 British Geological Survey.

    Related:

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    Plans of Fracking in UK's Lancashire Run Into Heated Opposition
    Over 70 Detained During Month-Long Set of Anti-Fracking Rallies in UK - Reports
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    fracking, protests, United Kingdom
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