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.
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.
Groundwater monitoring well. Cuadrilla said there was a monitoring well at each corner of the site. Instruments check groundwater below the membrane for methane
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.
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.
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.
The film showed shakers made up of vibrating filters used to catch the rock cuttings and let the mud through
Mud pumps. Cuadrilla said that after passing through the shakers, the mud runs through a series of tanks and is then pumped back underground
Top drive. This section of the rig contains the motors which turn the drill pipe and drill bit.
Eric Vaughan said this giant hydraulic wrench, known as the iron roughneck, joins or disconnects sections of drill pipe
The site control room, known as the “doghouse”.