IGas sees Ellesmere Port shale gas well as model for the future

IGas boss, Andrew Austin, told an industry conference this afternoon the company’s well at Ellesmee Port in Cheshire was as good, if not better than anything the company had seen across north-west England.

Speaking at Shale World UK in Birmingham, Mr Austin described Ellesmere Port as a model for the future and said: “There are important lessons that we will use in our ongoing programmes”.

The well revealed what he described as “a very significant shale section” over 1,400ft thick, as well as 800ft of coal measures. He said gas had been encountered throughout the shale section. Cores and legs were currently being analysed.

“The results were as encouraging, if not more encouraging, than wells previously drilled in the area”.

Last year, campaigners opposed to shale gas exploitation established a camp outside the site at Merseyton Road. They also organised a series of public meetings locally. A Freedom of Information request revealed in February that anti-fracking protests at Ellesmere Port, Farndon, Upton and outside the headquaters of Cheshire West and Chester Councl had cost Cheshire Police £280,000.

But Mr Austin told the conference there had been no major incidents at Ellesmere Port and few protesters had been arrested. The well had been drilled under time and under budget.

He added there had been a “great level of co-operation from the local police force” and “an understanding from the local councils which was very much appreciated”.

“It is a model for how we go forward”.

When asked to give more detail about the lessons learned, Mr Austin said: “The low level of protester activity certainly made the process quicker.

“Early engagement with the local community really helped. Site selection was also really important in that process. It is a more industrialised area than Barton or even Ince Marshes and that made a difference also in the process.

“Deliveries and waste disposal were also something we tightened up on from previous drilling experiences.”

Summary of other IGas well results

Mr Austin also summarised results from two other IGas wells in north-west England

Ince Marshes-1: Well suspended after reaching 5,174ft. Shale encountered from 4,200ft and estimated to be more than 1,000ft thick. Recent seismic interpretation suggests it could be 1,650ft. Cuttings, logs and corres taken.

Barton Moss: Drilled to 7,004ft. Encountered 15 coal seams with a net thickness of 77ft. Side tracking the main bore facilitated the taking of 384ft of continuous core between the Upper Sabden-Pendleside Limestone. Advanced wireline logging tools were run across key intervals to undertake comprehensive formation evaluation. Core analysis is being completed with key geochemical and roc, data now available.

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