Cuadrilla expects Lancs fracking to start within six months from “excellent quality” shale rocks



Cuadrilla’s shale gas site at Preston New Road. 16 October 2017. Photo: Frack Free Creators of Lancashire

The shale gas company, Cuadrilla, said this morning it estimated fracking would begin between April and June this year.

It said it had finished drilling a vertical pilot well at the Preston New Road exploration site near Blackpool and was preparing for horizontal drilling.

A spokesperson said:

“As we are about to start the horizontal drilling we estimate to start fracking in Q2 [quarter two]. As no-one has drilled horizontally into shale rock in the UK before this is an estimate, as there is no precedent.”

The company said it was confident there was “a very sizeable quantity” of shale gas in the Bowland shale.

In a statement it said it had drilled to a depth of more than 2.7km at Preston New Road and recovered 375ft of core samples from three intervals of the Upper and Lower Bowland shale formations.

The company’s chief executive, Francis Egan, said:

“We are very encouraged by our early analysis of the data and confident that there is a very sizeable quantity of natural gas in the Bowland Shale.

“In addition we can confirm that the rock composition is very suitable to hydraulically fracture. This give us great confidence as we start drilling what will be the first horizontal well drilled into UK shale rock.”

Today’s announcement comes as Cuadrilla awaits the result of a legal challenge by local campaigners. Preston New Road Action Group and Gayzer Frackman went to the Court of Appeal in August 2017 to contest the decision by the Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, to grant planning permission for the Preston New Road site.

The ruling in the case, by three Appeal Court judges, is expected this afternoon.

Lock-on protest

This morning at Preston New Road four opponents of Cuadrilla’s operation took part in a lock-on protest outside the entrance.

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Lock-on protest at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road shale gas site, 12 January 2017. Photo: Cheryl Atkinson

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Lock-on protest at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road shale gas site, 12 January 2017. Photo: Cheryl Atkinson

15 replies »

  1. I suppose there is a case to be made for not blaming the drilling companies for these horrific developments. The foolish decision-makers are governments who permit this kind of thing, ignoring the rise of renewables and the need for investment in renewables, not because the fossil fuels are dangerously near extinction, but because continued use of them will destroy mankind through pollutants and climate change. Maybe our actions could be towards politicians, already the most untrusted group of people in our land.

    • More hype to keep investors money pouring in.

      Six years ago, Poland was seen as the industry’s best hope for a fracking bonanza within the European Union.

      The US Energy Information Administration had estimated Poland could have gas reserves of up to 5.3 trillion cubic metres, and the Polish government was enthusiastic about developing a shale gas industry.

      But those hopes evaporated in the face of disappointing drilling results, falling oil prices, regulatory hassles, and environmental protests.

      The oil supermajors like Chevron and Exxon Mobil that had piled into the country pulled back again, and by late 2016 even the state-owned Polish firms effectively gave up on shale gas.

      Cuadrilla tried to join up with a Russian controlled company but that failed.

      Talk the talk. Get the money. Can’t walk the walk. You can’t hide forever.

      Time to wake up UK Government.

  2. Paul-quite understand you are against “these horrific developments” but there has been no ignoring the rise of renewables or the need to invest in them. Indeed, some have been making £150k net per year per wind turbine whether they were producing or not, because politicians decided we should pay for renewables within our energy bills. (Fortunately, not quite so mad now.)
    The Swansea lagoon may happen, but last presentation I saw the guy said “if it works, we intend to build a bigger one at Cardiff”. That sort of comment unlikely to get £1 billion plus out of the tax payer, when the scheme also depended on blowing up a prime piece of the Lizard to get the granite blocks.

    I understand your viewpoint but not going to convince many by trying to create a false picture that fracking, even if it developed, is somehow going to preclude alternative energy sources. It simply is not either or, in theory and in fact.

  3. Note that this important news from Cuadrilla has barely made any news. Which proves my theory that no one really cares, and public opposition is a paper tiger

    • Nick, yes you have a very good point. Leaders take note of public opinion, but are not bound by it. This is an important factor in leadership, not a complete endorsement to qualify leadership, but important. If public opinion (or the perception of, or claims by campaigners to represent) was always right then why have government? Democracy has to have the rule of law & governance, and informed evidence based voting through the ballot box.

      • Leaders come in different qualities.

        People rarely consider energy policy when voting – even, sadly, the people of the Fylde. They vote tribally for a party, and if on issues at all, then on education, health, economy… Yet energy policy could end our existence.

        Beyond party politics, amongst those who reject the pursuit of shale gas there are the active and the half-asleep. Do not underestimate the slumbering mass, especially if this shale folly is allowed to spread.

    • I don’t know, Nick, it did make the Times and it does seem like extraordinarily good news. Pretty tough times for anti-frackers as they learn that not only is shale gas likely viable economically in UK, but their efforts to halt it are not viable. Society scores a double victory.

  4. All looking good. Hopefully they will be able to make productive wells and we can start to look after ourselves partially in terms of fossil fuel usage. Bad news all around for the ill informed opposition!

  5. Fantastic news for Cuadrilla and for the UK economy. I truly hope the exploration exceeds all expectations. Let’s see much more as soon as possible please!

  6. Mmm, just not ringing true for me? Fred Bloggs obviously pseudonym!! Not convinced by cuadrilla, keeping the investments rolling in maybe? Swimming against the tide as New York is divesting pension funds away from fossil fuels, and announced a law suit against oil and gas corporations for damage caused by climate change!! So Fred Bloggs et al, SWIM!!

  7. I think you will find LM (very informative name, obviously false) that Cuadrilla are obliged to provide factual information to their shareholders/the market. If you can prove it false there are mechanisms you can use, rather than make unfounded claims.

    Is that the same New York in good old USA where off-shore and Arctic exploration for oil and gas has just been authorised on a vast scale?

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