GAS firm Third Energy is seeking investment in its business while it waits to undertake a frack at Kirby Misperton.

Following reports on Monday that the investment bank Lazard has approached a number of other industry players about a potential deal or even a possible merger, Knapton-based Third Energy confirmed it is looking at funding options.

A spokesman said: “Third Energy has all the necessary funding in place for its current operations, both onshore and offshore. As is normal in natural resources, including oil and gas, when moving into the development stage companies look at different options for funding known developments, future exploration and also further opportunities.”

The news came days after Barclays-owned Third Energy said it was likely that the frack, which had been planned for before Christmas, will now not take place until the autumn.

In January, the Government ordered a financial review into the firm after its accounts were filed several months late, and more recently, key equipment has been “temporarily released” from the site, including the workover rig, well test unit and the coil tubing unit.

Anti-fracking protesters said that the funding move indicates that fracking is in trouble and any new investors would face continued protests.

Russell Scott, of Frack-Free Ryedale, said: “We aren’t surprised that Third Energy is trying desperately to find additional investors.

“Suppliers have started pulling equipment off site at an incredible pace.”

He added: “This latest news about Third Energy who have been besieged with controversy lately proves once again that Greg Clark and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy should continue to withhold consent for fracking.”