British oil and gas exploration company Cuadrilla is not required to seal up the UK’s only two shale gas wells in summer.
That follows a decision made by the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) to withdraw the requirement to decommission the wells by the end of June.
Cuadrilla had previously applied for consent to keep its two wells.
The NSTA said: “Cuadrilla now has until the end of June next year to evaluate options for the Preston New Road and Elswick sites.
“If no credible reuse plans are in place by then, the NSTA expects to reimpose decommissioning requirements.”
The two wells are the only horizontal wells drilled and hydraulically fractured into UK shale rock.
Cuadrilla Chief Executive Officer Francis Egan said: “I am delighted that the regulator has taken the sensible decision not to abandon the UK’s only two viable shale gas wells at this time of soaring gas prices.
The government will soon publish its new energy security strategy.