Aurora Energy Resources

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Aurora Energy Resources is a private UK oil and gas company based in Aberdeen Scotland. First set up in 2008, it was initially known as Pacific Shelf Limited according to Companies House records.

In recent years Aurora has risen up the ranks of the key players pushing for shale gas exploration in the UK.

Following the 14th UK Onshore Licensing Round, it now has four Petroleum Exploration and Development Licences (PEDLs) covering 445 km2 (110,000 acres) in the heart of the Bowland Shale. The area is expected to be Europe's first commercially viable shale gas field and includes other operators such as Cuadrilla Resources.

Fracking plans in West Lancashire

Application for sites near Altcar village, Formby

Aurora's licences include PEDL 164 covering 100km2 of West Lancashire and Merseyside. In January 2018 the firm wrote a letter to local residents in Formby, West Lancashire to inform them of its plans to drill and frack two wells to the north of Great Altcar village, on the edge of Formby. Managing director Ian Roche said Aurora had begun the first stages of applying for planning permission for the site on Altcar Moss, submitting details to Lancashire County Council of its proposals to drill and frack a vertical and separate horizontal well there. The letter said that the site between Higher Moss and Middle Moss Lanes was approximately 850 metres from the nearest properties.[1]

On 27 June 2019 Aurora Energy confirmed it was seeking consent to drill, frack for shale gas and test two exploratory boreholes at Sutton Lane near Great Altcar village and would be submitting a planning application to Lancashire County Council. [2] [3][4]

Ian Roche, Managing Director, Aurora Energy Resources said:

'The Altcar Moss project looks to open a new chapter in the hydrocarbon story of West Lancashire, which has an exploration and production history dating back over 80 years. If successful, the development of a significant new indigenous energy resource would provide an important contribution to both the regional and national economies through the growth in high-skilled jobs, supply chain opportunities, and tax and business rate receipts.
The recent Committee for Climate Change report recognized that natural gas will continue to play an important role in UK energy supply beyond 2050. The UK must maximise production of our own resources, including natural gas from shale, to reduce our increasing dependency on expensive imports, which is currently set to reach 70 per cent of UK demand by 2030.' [5]

The company's fracking plans were published on 11 July 2019. [6]

West Lancs council opposition to Aurora's fracking plans

West Lancashire Borough Council restated its strong opposition to fracking at the proposed site, approving a motion on 18 July 2019 to this effect. The motion explained this was because of health and safety concerns and environmental impact. [7]

Political access

Attendee at May 2018 roundtable with shale gas companies and suppliers

Energy minister Claire Perry hosted a May 2018 roundtable with the fracking industry just hours before she gave evidence to a committee of MPs on the Conservative government's proposed changes to relax the rules on shale gas development in the UK.

A 'reconstructed' attendee list was released under the freedom of information act to North Yorkshire resident Jonathan Bales following an internal review of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy's initial almost completely redacted FOI response. [8]

Oil and gas companies at the roundtable included:

Other industries and organisations: Chemical Industries Association chemical company SABIC, Coalfield Regeneration Trust, Engineering Employers’ Federation, GMB. [9]

Energy minister's backing for Aurora's seismic surveys

In 2016 the Frack Off activist group reported that:

'a Freedom of Information Act request revealed that Aurora had applied for “ancillary access rights” after being refused entry by 46 landowners. This number was later reduced to four. Further FOI’s revealed that Energy Minister, Andrea Leadsom (on behalf of the Secretary of State) decided that it was appropriate to refer the matter to the high court for determination in respect of three landowners who continued to refuse access. Church Commissioners resisted but on legal advice negotiated with Aurora for conditions to protect their tenants.'


  • Ian Roche - Managing director Aurora Petroleum/Aurora Energy. Panellist at May 2014 Shale Gas World conference discussion: 'What are the planning and environmental permitting considerations for operators?'. Ian is a council member of UKOOG, the trade body representing the onshore oil and gas industry.

Directors/ Officers

Former executives and directors

Related firms

  • Aurora Petroleum - crossover of many of same directors

Constituencies that include Aurora's licences awarded in OGA's 14th round

Aurora owns five shale licenses based in Lancashire.

Companies House details

  • Company no. SC335749
  • Registered office address
The Office, Westfield Estate, Milltimber, Aberdeenshire, AB13 0EX
Company status: Active
Company type: Private limited Company
Incorporated on 3 January 2008

Previous names

Name Period

  • AURORA EXPLORATION (UK) LIMITED 04 Aug 2010 - 20 Dec 2013
  • EDP ONSHORE LIMITED 05 Feb 2008 - 04 Aug 2010
  • PACIFIC SHELF 1485 LIMITED 03 Jan 2008 - 05 Feb 2008


Relevant anti-fracking groups


  1. Ruth Hayhurst, Aurora announces fracking plans in west Lancashire, Drill or Drop, 5 January 2018, accessed 7 January 2018
  2. Jamie Lopez, Major fracking firm set to begin work at site in West Lancashire, Lancs Live, 27 June 2019, accessed 28 June
  3. Ruth Hayhurst, New fracking bid announced for Lancashire, Drill or Drop, 27 June 2019
  4. Altcar Moss, Aurora Energy Resources website, last accessed 28 June 2019
  5. Jamie Lopez, Major fracking firm set to begin work at site in West Lancashire, Lancs Live, 27 June 2019, accessed 28 June
  6. For a thorough breakdown of the application and ongoing updates, see Ruth Hayhurst, Plans published for new Lancashire fracking site, Drill or Drop, 17 July 2019, accessed 18 July 2019
  7. Ruth Hayhurst, West Lancs council restates opposition to fracking as shale gas plans published, Drill or Drop, 18 July 2019, accessed 19 July
  8. What do they Know?, Shale Gas Round Table: internal review of Freedom of Information request to Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, 24 July 2018
  9. Ruth Hayhurst, What government told the shale gas industry about success, regulation, jobs and support, Drill or Drop, 22 October 2018, accessed same day.