Picture Post: Cuadrilla hosts first fracking site online tour and Q&A from Preston New Road


Eric Vaughan (left), Cuadrilla’s well services director, and Jim Hancock

Cuadrilla became the first UK operator this afternoon to broadcast a webcast tour and live question and answer session from a shale gas site.

The one-hour broadcast was hosted by Jim Hancock, a former political editor of BBC North West, and Eric Vaughan, Cuadrilla’s well services director.

It comprised 27 minutes of questions in three sections, interspersed with pre-recorded film of the site.

The 20 questions that were answered covered issues such as impacts on air and water quality, monitoring, tanker movements, length of wells, refracking, employment, waste treatment and the number of wells and sites.

They were selected by a moderator from questions submitted by viewers. Questions that were not covered during the broadcast will be answered online later, Cuadrilla said.

The company was unable to give details this afternoon of the number of viewers or the number of submitted questions. But this information is expected next week and we’ll update this post with the details.

The sections of pre-recorded film showed the site’s membrane, groundwater monitoring boreholes, noise reduction measures, as well as covering the drilling process and the mud system. The footage showed puddles of rain water, which have been an ongoing issue at the Preston New Road site.

Cuadrilla said a recording of the broadcast would be available online shortly. All the pictures below are taken from the film or the live broadcast.

Site pictures from the broadcast


Cuadrilla said the site was lined with a membrane between layers of felt, to contain rainwater and spills.

171006PNRLiveStream04 Water

Cuadrilla said the collected rain water would be used in drilling mud and fracking. Excess water was taken away by tanker for treatment. There is also mains water supply to the site.

171006PNRLiveStream07 Groundwater monitor closeup

Groundwater monitoring well. Cuadrilla said there was a monitoring well at each corner of the site. Instruments check groundwater below the membrane for methane

171006PNRLiveStream11 Large drill bit

Cuadrilla said this tricorn drill bit had been used to drill a shallow stage of well. Teeth on the bit break the rock down as the bit rotates.


Stack of drill pipes. Eric Vaughan said the pipes were connected together and fed down the well during drilling. Once drilling was completed, the pipes and drill bit were removed from the well.

171006PNRLiveStream18 Casing

Drill casing. Cuadrilla said that once each drilling stage is complete, the drill casing is fed in to line the well and is cemented in place.

171006PNRLiveStream24 Mud flows

Cuadrilla said drilling mud is pumped down the drill pipe and forced back up the outside of the pipe. The mud cools the drill bit and carries small rock cuttings up and out of the well.

171006PNRLiveStream25 Mud filter

The film showed shakers made up of vibrating filters used to catch the rock cuttings and let the mud through

171006PNRLiveStream28 Mud pumps

Mud pumps. Cuadrilla said that after passing through the shakers, the mud runs through a series of tanks and is then pumped back underground

171006PNRLiveStream31 Top drive2

Top drive. This section of the rig contains the motors which turn the drill pipe and drill bit.

171006PNRLiveStream33 Iron roughneck to connect drill pipe

Eric Vaughan said this giant hydraulic wrench, known as the iron roughneck, joins or disconnects sections of drill pipe

171006PNRLiveStream35 doghouse 2

The site control room, known as the “doghouse”.





30 replies »

  1. So, we are either climate change deniers, in the pocket of Cuadrilla, rabid capitalists and now we want censorship!

    [Edited by moderator]

    I think you will find it is the “pro-frackers” who welcome information being supplied for people to examine and then accept or reject

    [Edited by moderator]

    Just because some of us want to see whether test fracking in UK is practical, or not, does not make our views any less valid than your own. And, it does not mean we have any other agenda than that

    [Edited by moderator]

  2. I posted perfectly valid content Martin, which was “redacted” because I mentioned the name of a firm associated with supposed “monitoring” that as a matter of public record and fact, has vested interests in the fracking industry. [Edited by moderator] When you’ve found and posted here one single proven instance anywhere in the world of fracking being carried out 100% safely for a lengthy period of time without any problems – no leaks, no pollution of air, water or land, no seismic events, no adverse impact on local farming, tourism, road traffic; not to mention each and every chemical used in the process named with exactitude; nor any impact on global warming – I’ll then revisit this page. See you again – never.

    • Can i say this, watching what happens each time two or more opposing views meet, what we have is a failure in communication? We all have positions, all of us, but what happens each time is that we are speaking a different language.
      It may seem like English to us, but the meanings and intentions behind the words and in what context they are used are entirely different.

      We would have thought that almost free communication electronically would enable us to meet and greet each other and we understand each other better, but the opposite is happening.

      That is the reality of more communication at a distance without a physical presence, it tends to polarise positions rather than bring them together.

      There are all sorts of reasons for that, anonymity, lack of direct immediate consequences, we are like the first world war generals sending out out verbal troops to fight, and meanwhile hiding away in our palatial mansions whilst our words sacrifice and kill other words in some sort of dreadful increasingly vicious war, soon we will be inventing nerve gas phrases and nuclear deterrent sentences to conquer and destroy other points of view.

      There is division of views everywhere now, division is the new currency of communication, or rather the lack of it, it suits the medium to have us at each others verbal throats, it serves a purpose, because we are so busy fighting each other we do not see that what few freedoms we still possess are being rapidly eroded.

      We are fragmenting rather than agreeing on anything, violence in the streets because of words, murder and social unrest because of phrases and imperative extreme polarised points of view that kill and mame.

      So, what do we do about it? there is a very simple question that i am asking to everyone, me included, and it is this.

      What do we wish to give and receive from discussing fracking and its related operations at all on these pages?

      i will answer that for myself just to start it off:

      This country, this planet, is the only one i have, there is no earth 2, no backup UK, anymore than a backup USA, or EU, or Spain/Catalan, or all the countries of the world.

      So i want to see this country heal itself as i know we can do and set an example to the world, i want us to have a clean power production base, and i recognise part of that will mean gas production until that can be replaced by the renewable alternatives.

      But i demand, and i really do mean demand, to see the promised gold standard regulations in place and working properly funded and staffed to keep it clean on a day to day basis and to be and as non intrusive to ecology and health and water and food as it can be.
      I want to see the police reigned back and the protests concentrate on improving the arrangements by monitoring officially, yes, officially, on behalf of the rest of the public.

      I want to see social and political and even religious differences come together around the same table face to face and once and for all sort out exactly what we are doing to make things better and how and why.

      So, how does that apply to the fracking and oil and gas scenario? it is the same thing, we can snipe and snarl at each other until the world ends but then it would have all been a waste of time. in the end, something constructive has to come from this, or why are we all here writing what we do?

      Or we can at least sit face to face at the same table and thrash out the issues face to face until we reach some sort of position of where we can go from there?

      That is my stand.

      What is your stand?

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