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What Cuadrilla told us about acid etching, policing the anti fracking protests and the duration of its planning application

23rd February 2014

We asked Cuadrilla questions about its planning application to flow test the oil exploration well at Balcombe and for a response to calls for it to contribute to the cost of policing the summer protests. Here are the unedited responses.

Question: What is ‘acid etching’ and will the technique be used in Balcombe during the flow testing process?

Answer: No, Cuadrilla will not be using the ‘acid etching’ technique as part of the flow testing operations in Balcombe.  To clarify, acid etching refers to the injection of a diluted acid solution at pressures above the fracture pressure of the rock.  Cuadrilla proposes to circulate a 10 % acid solution (90% water) along the horizontal length of the wellbore at pressures well below the fracture pressure.  This is commonly referred to in the industry as an “acid wash”. The purpose is to dissolve and remove any residual drilling mud from the wellbore and clean the face of the limestone rock immediately adjacent to the horizontal well.  This will help facilitate the flow of oil from the limestone into the well.

Question: Why is the current application at Balcombe for only  six months when the previous application was for three years?

Answer: Cuadrilla believes that the six month period sought in the planning application should be enough time to successfully complete flow testing operations at the site in Balcombe.

Question: What is Cuadrilla’s response to calls for it to pay for the £3.9 million policing bill from the summer anti fracking protests?

ANSWER: Cuadrilla has consistently made clear that it supports the right to peaceful and lawful protest.  Likewise Cuadrilla has the right to conduct operations approved by the County Council and regulatory authorities and in line with UK Government policy on exploring the UK’s hydrocarbon resources.  Neither activity should require a police presence and Cuadrilla does not plan to pay for one.

Question: Could I make a further request for interview with Cuadrilla representative on industry regulation?

Answer: Thank you for your request. However, no one from Cuadrilla is available at this time. However, if you require any further information on our operations then please do not hesitate to get back in touch.

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