Cuadrilla produces first shale gas from fracking site – despite “strict” earthquake rules

pnr 181102 Cuadrilla Resources

Gas flares at Cuadrilla’s fracking site at Preston New Road near Blackpool, 2 November 2018. Photo: Cuadrilla Resources

Shale gas has flowed to the surface at Cuadrilla’s fracked well at Preston New Road near Blackpool, the company said this lunchtime.

The news, described by Cuadrilla as “significant” and “providing early encouragement”, follows its complaints earlier this week that rules on earthquakes caused by fracking were too strict and could “strangle” the UK industry.

The company has distributed a video showing the gas being burnt in a flare on the site.

The pro-fracking group, Lancashire for Shale, said the gas flow was a “real credit to the expertise and tenacity of Cuadrilla.”

The opposition campaign group, Frack Free Lancashire, said Cuadrilla was desperate to give investors some good news after fracking at Preston New Road had caused more than 30 earth tremors.



The company has been required to halt fracking twice because seismic activity exceeded the 0.5ML (local magnitude) red-light threshold.

Mr Egan had called for the 0.5ML limit to be raised to 2.0ML. But the energy minister, Claire Perry, said this would be “foolish” while the government was trying to “reassure people about safety”.

In an interview with the Times, Mr Egan said the company was not getting effective fractures and may not want to flow test.

But in a statement today, the company said flow testing on both wells was now planned for late 2018 and into the new year.

Mr Egan said today’s gas flow, though small, was indicative of the potential of shale:

“Considering that we are only at the very start of fracturing operations and, given operating constrains, have not yet been able to inject as much sand into the shale as we had planned, this is a good early indication of the gas potential that we have long talked about.”

“This Preston New Road site is being monitored to an unprecedented level. This initial gas flow is by no means the end of the story.

“However it provides early encouragement that the Bowland Shale can provide a significant source of natural gas to heat Lancashire and UK homes and offices and reduce our ever growing reliance on expensive foreign imports.”

The campaign group, Frack Free Lancashire, said in a statement:

“After the public relations disaster that Cuadrilla have suffered over the last three weeks, and the 25% crash in their parent company’s share price over the last 48 hours, Cuadrilla are clearly desperate to be able to give their investors some good news.

“However, it sounds as though they are now claiming that a small quantity of gas that returned when they had to depressure the well (after triggering both amber and red events) is somehow exciting news.

“We doubt that either their investors or the government are going to impressed by this last-ditch attempt to salvage something positive from a three-week series of unfortunate events.

“We look forward to seeing the associated data on the flow rate, which they will no doubt be publishing shortly.”

Shares in one of Cuadrilla’s investor, the Australian mining group, A J Lucas, fell sharply on 31 October 2018, the day of Ms Perry’s statement.

The Preston New Road Action Group, a resident’s group which opposed Cuadrilla’s plans through an inquiry and two court cases, last night welcomed the government’s decision not to relax the seismicity rules. It warned that it would challenge any move to raise the threshold in the courts. DrillOrDrop report

Lee Petts, chair of the pro-fracking group, Lancashire for Shale, responded to the announcement of the gas flow:

“This is fantastic news, and a real credit to the expertise and tenacity of Cuadrilla and its partners, proving that it is possible to safely recover gas from the rich shale deposits beneath our feet.

“Earlier this week, we saw three LNG cargoes land into the UK on the same day, two of which were fracked shale gas from the United States. There is no justification for remaining so reliant on imports of costlier, less secure and higher emission LNG from abroad when we are sitting on a vast untapped source of our own gas here in Lancashire.

“The news that Cuadrilla has been able to produce gas to the surface sets the scene for the future development of a successful new industry, and will be welcomed by the business community for the benefits it will bring to the local economy.”

109 replies »

  1. Oh Look at those chimneys belching smoke and radio-active soot. The snowflakes said there was no gas at all,now there isn’t enough, They will have to revert to Plan B and go back to the Emergency Evacuation Plan challenge that just wastes money that wasn’t theirs to start with.

    • The Preese Hall well was fracked in 2011.

      The completion report with all the details of gas flow rates, pressures, and fluid volumes was created in November 2016 and modified in August 2018 for all to see.

      To confirm. That is August this year. A few weeks ago.

      I wonder why it took till just before the start of fracking at PNR to release the details?

      • From the BGS

        ‘At least for the next few operations in this basin, we suggest that a threshold value of 0.5 ML would be appropriate, and immediate flow back should be implemented if any events of that magnitude or above are detected’

        ‘Immediate flow back’ operations underway as recommended by the BGS ?

        • ‘They will have to revert to Plan B’

          Still on with plan A which started in 2010 when Cuadrilla got a fracking application passed unopposed. Since then the industry has spent tens of millions of investors money and has been constantly pummelled by well organised communities backed by MPs, Councillors, the Labour party,the greenparty, the Lib dems, FOE, Unite union, the best legal teams and environmental planners and specialists.

          7 years to arrive at a point where the Government is telling you to work within agreed limits which have resulted in a non viable amount of mixed gases and waste fluids.

  2. Well done Cuadrilla indeed. You are flaring a small amount of gas to produce media hype. You are no doubt – because you are revealed over years as incompetent operators – not only releasing unnecessarily CO2 into our air but potentially harmful compounds, not to mention methane itself unburned. We do not want this. We knew you would produce some gas. We are not surprised. We are not surprised either that you have to find any press release content to try and prop up your foundering financial venture.

    The writing is on the wall. You have lost government support. Without that you are doomed. You know it and we know it. The sooner you stop fracking our homeland, putting our geology, our environment, our communities, our health at risk the better. And take all your sad sick supporters with you. Frack off. Leave us alone. You are outed.

  3. The huge amounts of gas that were flared off were seen, on rapidly scrambled drone footage, to have been burnt off in about 20 minutes. Egan is supplying more ‘factual innacuracies’ in the vain hope of boosting his share prices, which are going down like a lead zeppelin, I can produce more and better quality gas after a curry! Why doesn’t he crank up the pressure enough to use sand? What is he scared of? The standard copywriting pros commenting on here are going to be looking for new employees soon 🙂

  4. As I previously posted; “time will tell”.

    Will Cuadrilla decide to put their foot on the gas & drive on through the “Red Lights”.

    WATCH THIS SPACE. The opera is not yet over.

  5. It does look like a rush PR job by Cuadrilla to calm investors after AJ Lucas tanked 30% in last two days following the Times articles.

  6. So where are the airborne carcinogenic fumes going, into our boilers or into our lungs?
    Also where are the contaminated fracking fluids, have they been tankered away or lost to pollute our environment?

  7. It states in the above article, “The opposition campaign group, Frack Free Lancashire, said Cuadrilla was desperate to give investors some good news..”

    I thought Cuadrilla was a private company? If you can buy shares in Cuadrilla, please point me in the right direction to buy them. I’m all for investing in Britain’s future. Or perhaps it was an attempt to devalue the results?

    • Terri – the shares in Cuadrilla’s parent Aj Lucas can be bought on the open market (for 25% less today than earlier in the week and 33% less than when they started fracking) . Without AJL funding Cuadrilla won’t last long. Feel free to invest in them if you have a strong appetite for risk.

    • Terri
      Interesting to see Frack Free Lancashire saying bulletin board stuff, in tune to that by Cuadrilla.
      Deramprts waiting to get in at a lower price would be the accusation tho, were it on such a board.

      But for investing in fracking, best wait to see how it goes then invest in the support companies, the ones making money out of the US frack boom ( even if the operator struggles ).

      Or try IGas … up today despite the market sell off in the afternoon. What good news are they taking out of the progress across the Pennines.

      As the Cornish Tin mining found out, the banks, smelters and landowners made the money while most investors in the mines did not ( apart from a lucky few ). Check out Wolf, which make A.J Lucas look like a good bet.

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