The shale gas company, Cuadrilla, confirmed it had resumed deliveries to its fracking site near Blackpool at 5.30am this morning.
The company said a convoy brought in specialist equipment designed to prepare the two wells at Preston New Road for hydraulic fracturing later in the year.
Equipment was demobilised before Christmas, including the coiled tubing unit used during fracking.
Cuadrilla’s projects and operations director, Laura Hughes, said in a letter to members of the community liaison group (clg):
“We said then that we would remobilise in 2019 as required. We have taken delivery of a range of specialist equipment today.”
The company said in a press release:
“At this stage the equipment being mobilised does not including hydraulic fracturing pumps.”
But the clg letter, Cuadrilla gave additional details:
“Hydraulic fracturing is not being carried out at Preston New Road presently and there is no current agreed schedule to hydraulically fracture either well in place.”
Last year, Cuadrilla began fracking on 15 October and announced it was removing equipment on 18 December. It later confirmed that only two of the 42 stages (5%) of the well were fracked as planned with the designed volume of sand.
The company complained that the traffic light system to regulate fracking-induced earth tremors had restricted the fracking and flow test operations. It was required to stop fracking at least five times because of tremors, which totalled 56 over the two months.
Protesters who have kept up a 24-hour vigil outside the gate, reported this morning’s convoy numbered about 10 vehicles.
The deliveries included equipment from the well services company, Schlumberger, they said.
Cuadrilla was granted permission in December 2017 for convoy deliveries, outside the specified hours in the traffic management plan.
Under a changed planning condition, the number of single convoy deliveries for the entire project was limited to nine, with no more than 30 lorries per night.
In September 2018, the company brought in equipment for the first fracks in convoys of 23 and five vehicles from 4.20am-4.30am.
Cuadrilla’s Laura Hughes said:
“Vehicle movements in and out of Preston New Road are usually carried out between 7.30am and 6.30pm on weekdays, in line with our approved transport management plan. We are able to make a number of deliveries outside of those hours when we feel it is appropriate.
“We utilised that today to try and ensure the safety of both our staff and suppliers, as well as any protestors at the roadside who might have taken direct action to prevent the equipment being delivered and potentially put themselves and others in danger in doing so.”