“Lancs homes to be heated by local shale gas by early 2018” – Cuadrilla exec

PNR 170417 FrackFreeCreators - Knitting Nannas Lancashire3

Preston New Road shale gas site, 17 April 2017. Photo: Frack Free Creators Knitting Nanas of Lancashire

A Cuadrilla executive has predicted that shale gas from the company’s site at Preston New Road near Blackpool is likely to be used in local homes by early next year.

Matt Lambert, the company’s director of government and public affairs, told a Lancashire business conference this week:

“Probably, as early as the beginning of next year we will be heating homes in Lancashire with Lancashire gas. And then I think people will understand and start to see real jobs, real supply-side contracts coming through in significant numbers and people will say well what was the fuss about.”

He said the potential for shale gas in Lancashire “could be enormous”.

“This is just an amazing opportunity for Lancashire. And when you’ve got those opportunities, which are available, you just have to keep going and eventually we will get there.”

He said there was a “tremendous amount” of shale gas under the ground in the county.

“The opportunity to get that out safely with limited impact on the environment is really too good to miss.”

Protests and challenges

Cuadrilla began work at Preston New Road on 5 January 2017, about two-and-a-half years after it submitted the planning application for the site.


Preston New Road 170403 Cheryl Atkinson 2

Protest at Cuadrilla’s Preston new Road site, 3 April 2017. Photo: Cheryl Atkinson

It has faced daily protests from opponents, who argue that Lancashire said no to the site when the county council refused planning permission in June 2015.

The Communities’ Secretary, Sajid Javid, overruled the council on 6 October 2016 and earlier this month (12 April 2017) a High Court judge dismissed two legal challenges to the minister’s decision.

Anti-fracking campaigners have said they will maintain their opposition to the site. But despite the legal actions and protests, Cuadrilla has said it is on schedule at Preston New Road. It said its timetable remains to begin drilling in the second quarter of this year (April-June) and fracking in the third quarter (July-September).

The company plans to pump any gas produced during extended well tests directly into the mains network. The planning statement submitted with the planning application expected this test would be carried out about 14 months after the start of work on the site.

“Hub for shale gas industry”

Mr Lambert was asked to estimate the impact of a shale gas industry on employment. He said:

“It’s hard to say but the studies have ranged between 10s of thousands of jobs, even up to a hundred thousand jobs in this area. Until we get the exploration done we just don’t know.”

These figures are higher than those referred to on Cuadrilla’s website, which quotes a study by EY. This predicted that a successful UK shale gas industry at its peak could generate 64,500 direct, indirect and induced jobs across the whole country. This scenario is based on the UK drilling 4,000 lateral wells on 100 pads between 2016-2032.

Mr Lambert said fracking had been made possible by directional drilling – the technological innovation that allowed wells to be drilled for several kilometres.

“We need to get that started here in Lancashire, make it a hub for the industry in Europe and I think there will be huge opportunities for research and development, for universities, for new apprentices, new students coming through with bright ideas and taking this industry forward for the rest of Britain and for Europe.”

Mr Lambert was speaking during an interview with Chris Maguire at BusinessCloud’s Lancashire Powerhouse event in Lytham on 19 April 2017. Audio of the interview here

77 replies »

  1. Mr Lambert’s exaggerations are typical of the output of the company he works for. There is no study that suggests fracking “in this area” will generate 100,000 jobs is there? There certainly isn’t one that the PR execs on the Cuadrilla Information Line are aware of because I asked them that this afternoon.

    When they want to big it up they make ludicrous claims like this, but when they want to try to minimise the perception of impact we see Francis Egan claiming that his 2.6 ha pad in a 9.9 ha surface works area is “the size of a rugby pitch”(1ha).

    Too funny!

  2. Lots of predictions, probably, and could be from a company who after 7 years of trying have achieved virtually nothing. If you can produce serious technical failings during your first attempt then to say that you are close to delivering the finished goods because you have fenced off and bulldozed a field is just fantasy.

    I doubt these predictions will ease troubled investors minds.

  3. Time-line could be important. New nuclear up the road likely to be delayed until finances are re-sorted. Hinkley likely to delayed-this time it’s Unite.
    I suspect there will be every encouragement for this site to be kept on track now. (So, make sure your violin is tuned.) In addition, a few vulnerable Labour seats not too far away where additional employment opportunities could be vital. With labour against nuclear and fracking it is starting to look a bit like the perfect storm is building.

    As long is it isn’t a “duster”, gas could be flowing just around the time the central heating goes back on. That could focus “public opinion” in Lancashire.

    Have a good weekend, but don’t all plug your electric cars in together. Likely to cause a power outage! ( When will someone actually start to consider the overall implications of “alternative” energy sources?)

    • Water powered cars don’t need to be plugged in martin, do try to keep up?
      Have a good weekend and enjoy the results of solar power from hundreds of millions of years ago, I prefer todays solar power today.

  4. HOW CAN FRACKED GAS GO DIRECTLY INTO MAINS..EVEN IF CUADRILLA KEEPS THE TIMETABLE..IT CANT BE COMPATIBLE WITH THE GAS CURRENTLY HEATING chemically different much more poisonous inflammable and intense..see campaign of NEW YORK CHEFS against being poisoned by the fracked gas from PENNSYLVANIA

    • Anna – perhaps Centrica screwed up when they forward purchased shale gas LNG from Pennsylvania via Texas? First shipments due into UK grid 2018. Are we all going to be poisoned? Of course if you sit in a room full of pure methane you will die in a few minutes……

      phil C – I tried filling my car up with water and guess what – it wouldn’t start?

      • Try frackwater, there is probably enough hydrocarbons in that to accelerate it to beyond the speed of sound, in a somewhat fragmented state of course, but hey, you cant have everything.
        Try an HHO converter next time.

    • Anna, would you like to tell what you think comes out of your gas main and what will be produced from a fracked well?

    • Anna
      The NY chefs are against fracking per se. Their web sites do not say that they have been poisoned by fracked gas when cooking! Unless I missed out on an article. The gas produced in UK has to be to specification when put into the grid, otherwise the grid company will not accept it. Cheers

  5. In April 2016 Physicians, Scientists and Engineers (PSE) in the US analysed peer-reviewed scientific publications in the US which showed health and environmental concerns from fracking and unconventional gas development. “ 84% of public health studies contain findings that indicate public health hazards, elevated risks, or adverse health outcomes. 69% of water quality studies contain findings that indicate potential or actual incidence of water contamination. And 87% of air quality studies contain findings that indicate elevated air pollutant emissions and/or atmospheric concentrations. These results indicate that (unconventional gas development) UNGD is likely to contribute to environmental public health burdens”. This is a country considered by a major UK licence holder to be “ number one in the world in terms of its regulatory bodies. “I don’t see, said INEOS’s Jim Ratcliffe, BBC 6th December 2016 “that it’s any different in respect of shale….but humans are not infallible, systems are not infallible..”. And so what price the protection offered by the UK’s nascent but of course world-class unconventional gas regulatory system? Put May back in Downing Street, Preston New Road will get the go ahead and we might find out, but probably not until after her reign!

  6. This is another sales pitch to potential investors. Pumping the gas directly into the existing system is high risk. But I suspect they don’t want to reveal the extra industrial infrastructure they’d need to build to make the gas suitable for injection into the current system. And then there’s the issue of the need for back to back wells to keep the gas flowing…….and the money coming to fund it. It will not be a simple as Cuadrilla would like you to believe.

    • Lower / none spec. calorific value is the issue which may stop direct feed into the grid. Please don’t keep mentioning “pumping” gas. Compression is used if the delivery pressure is higher than the wellhead / plant delivery pressure.

  7. Cuadrilla is exaggerating their timetable to keep their fans happy. They are way behind their timetable. They still havent finished the site building and long way from setting up the drilling ops which take several months. And then they need to frack and stimulate the ways and that take months if not years to get the right formula. You wouldn’t think they can achieve that in the next 8 to 9 months. And of course they are not even sure whether it will flow commercially and if it doesn’t then no gas will flow into the grid. Even their backer AJ Luscas announced to the security regulators that they ain’t even sure what is the estimate resource in the exploration area and their independent report is not even completed. This is just Mr Lambert trying to do his job pump up the positive possibilities while the real truth is many things are uncertain and not working on time.

  8. If you read through the British Geological Survey reports regarding shale deposits under Lancashire it’s clear that any methane recovered will come with Radon gas among other contaminants. I’m not sure I like the idea of radioactive fuel for central heating and especially not in cooking.

      • Sorry Phil, maxed out pretty much with current over subsidised renewables technology. Watch gas increase….. Of course today we are burning coal again BECAUSE there is very little wind across the UK, high pressure and all that.

        A quick look at the no coal day:

        Drax power station contributed 6% of the UK’s power on no coal day. It’s Europe’s biggest coal-fired power plant. The only difference was that it was burning wood pellets shipped from the opposite side of the world, from trees that will take 150 years to grow back.

        Wind contributed 10%, nuclear 20% and GAS 55%. And we imported 10% (clearly this was a major effort to get to zero coal as the expected wind did not materialise on the day so we bought high price electricity from the Continent (French Nuclear and Dutch gas / coal). The rest will be solar (day light hours) and hydro.

        • Sorry Paul, talk it up as much as you want, it doesn’t change anything, renewables are the only way to go. What we must not do is destroy our communities and countryside on the promise of jam tomorrow, when we all know that its jam yesterday and jam today we need. Browns gas can be manufactured in bulk today, locally, it burns without producing CO2 methane, carbon monoxide, radiation or anything other than water. Production is easy, just electrolysis of water, it’s so simple and safe, it has been sidelined by the oligarchies because it destroys their power base.
          Tesla towers can be built locally and produce electricity from the electrostatic difference between the air and the ground, its free.
          Vehicles can be run on water, it needs some modification and an HHO unit, a guy in Australia ran his modified car for 100 miles on a gallon of water before he was murdered. Innovations in plasma spark plugs that burned water at near max efficiency were bought up by the o&g corporations and then squashed, super efficient car engines have also been squashed in similar fashion.
          Innovations in wind and tide power generations are deliberately starved of funds, solar panels can be made for small change and are very efficient and are being developed now, which is why the industry owned government slapped an 800% extra tax on solar panels to stop development in UK. In spite of the military industrial complex, of which the o&g industry is a major part, their best efforts they cannot stop progress, they have squandered the resources of the planet and created a complacent monopoly whilst simultaneously strangling progress towards an intelligent future.
          That is ending and they are running scared so badly they are threatening to throw all the toys out of the pram by plunging us into a war just to preserve their power and privilege.
          You use the words “zealot” and “enemies” a lot, then I will return the favour, how about ZEOP, I will let you figure out that for yourself.

          • Phil – perhaps you and your friends should vote for the Party which is proposing that we run our cars on water, get free electricty from Tesla towers, and will throw lots more money in even more subsidies at wave , tide, (already guaranteed over £300/Mwhr)wind and solar, and Browns gas etc. You will need a lot of like minded peoplebut perhaps you will win.

            “The draft strike prices, based on 2012 prices that will be confirmed at least 10 days ahead of the allocation round opening, are set at 310 £/MWh for wave, and 300 £/MWh for tidal, for projects deploying in 2021/22.

            For projects deploying in 2022/23, the strike price for wave is set at 300 £/MWh, and tidal at 295 £/MWh.”

            Sound economics when the market rate for electricity is around £35/Mwhr thanks to cheap gas.

            Meanwhile in the real world, which ever party wins, we will continue to use a lot of natural gas for heating and 40% of our electrcity needs for many years to come while we try and work out a viable renewables option which doesn’t bankrupt us, or hopefully, we solve the fusion problems.

        • Best sited onshore wind is the cheapest form of electrical generation in the Uk.

          Offshore wind prices coming down down down

          Strike prices for 2022-23 will be £100 for offshore wind

          Tomorrows cheap clean energy, here today and here to stay.

          Great news for all pro frackers who support a renewable future.

          Proven free sourced renewable energy makes new fossil fuel developments look farcical.

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