First rig in place at Cuadrilla’s Lancs shale gas site

pnr 170601 Frank Hill 1

Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site, 1 June 2017. Photo: Frank Hill

Cuadrilla installed a conductor rig this morning at its shale gas site at Preston New Road in Lancashire.

A company spokesperson said the rig was designed to set the conductor pipe – the first layer of well casing – into the ground.

The spokesperson said the conductor rig did not represent the start of drilling. Spudding the well required the full-size drill rig, expected to be 53m.

DrillOrDrop asked Cuadrilla how long the conductor rig was likely to be on site and when the drilling rig would be installed. We’ll update this post with the company’s response.

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DrillOrDrop reader, Paul Tresto, said:

“The conductor is the first string of steel casing installed. It is large diameter and set shallow to provide structural support for the well and a conduit for the drilling fluid to be returned to the rig system and controlled. It prevents the unconsolidated ground near the surface being washed out and protects the wellhead cellar.

“Usually onshore, the conductor is pre-installed before the main drilling unit arrives on location to drill the well. The main rig may not have the capability to drill/install the large diameter conductor casing. Also conductor rigs are lower cost generally.

“Conductor rigs can drill and cement or pile drive conductors depending on the surface geology.

“Once the conductor(s) have been installed ,the conductor rig will be demobilised and the main drilling unit will be brought on site.”


Barry Gardiner, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade, said:

“This is an extremely worrying development as fracking is not the right answer to our energy problems because it would lock us into an energy infrastructure based on fossil fuels and will cause more unnecessary damage to our environment.

“If elected on June 8th we will put a stop to these damaging plans across Lancashire. Labour will ban fracking and invest in renewable energy instead.”

Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Fylde, Jed Sullivan, said:

“I am proud that the Labour Party is committed to banning fracking in Fylde.

“Labour are the only party that can make this happen: I urge you to use your vote for Labour in Fylde so that together we can stop this filthy business.”

Updated 2/6/2017 with Labour reaction


39 replies »

  1. “The EIA currently expects U.S. crude oil production to average 9.3 million bpd in 2017 and almost 10.0 million bpd in 2018. After this week’s release of the March output, 9.1 million bpd, Rystad Energy believes that the EIA will again revise up its U.S. production outlook.

    “US oil production has grown faster at $50 USD than any analysts in the market predicted. As these numbers are getting confirmed, the initial optimism about OPEC’s temporary cuts, may turn to increasing skepticism about OPEC’s choice of policy once the current output deal expires next year,” Bjørnar Tonhaugen, VP Oil Markets at Rystad Energy, said.

    The U.S. shale patch—helped by technological breakthroughs, leaner operations, and meaner cost attitude—is currently showing OPEC and the oil market that it’s the new swing oil producer.”

    Bad investment indeed….

    Renewables installed capacity is already at 30-50% Philip P in the UK, it is over 40% of UK capacity. The problem is the word intermittent – it is already an issue for the grid and balancing.

    At this moment in time gas is producing 46% of our electricity, nuclear 23% and coal 1%. Total 70%. The rest is renewables and interconnectors – wind 10% 4GW from 14GW installed (actually a very good day for wind today), solar 4.4% 1.6GW (not very sunny today, but better than it will be at 1000pm), Biomass 5% 2GW (DRAX burning forests from overseas), hydro 2.2% 0.8GW. Total renewables 21.6%.

    Interconnectors (mainly nuclear from France) 8.5%.

    So 40% of our installed capacity (renewables) produces less than 22% of our electrcity on a very windy day during day light hours. And this includes dirty DRAX…..

  2. much solidarity to all my sisters and brothers in Preston Nanas extraordinairy warriers all, to all who have founght against this you have my heart. I will be up soon Frances Crow Ocean

  3. Yes, so what I’m talking about is the vision and political will to reverse that 70% figure in favour of renewables – and by that I mean supply not installed capacity. New generations of wind turbines and solar panels have upped the game considerably. There needs to be a plan, this shouldn’t be a time where subsidies are being removed from renewables in favor of unconventional gas (particularly onshore). We need leadership that looks at the best examples around the world and see that it is do-able.

    • You can have all the vision and political will but the laws of physics and simple maths and economics tell us (engineers) that we are already at our viable capacity of renewables – check Germany out – installed capacity similar to our as a % of total. If we did not have our interconectors today where do you think the shortage would come from? Gas and possibly coal.

      Look around the world and find a Country on a similar Latitude with a similar population size to ours that has more renewables capacity as a total %. We cannot be Norway / British Colombia / Costa Rica – aside from poplulation, we don’t have the geography for the hydro power (note that these Countries are successful with renewables due to hydropower NOT wind).

      You are advocating we increase our wind / solar installed capacity by 400% to displace our gas today? Apart from that being very expensive and totally pointless if it is not windy tomorrow night, think about the practicalities of actually installing another 60GW of wind and or solar?

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