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.
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