Confidential records reveal limitations of Cuadrilla’s Lancashire fracking operation

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Fracking equipment at Cuadrilla’s shale gas site at Preston New Road, 28 November 2018. Photo: Ros Wills

Two-thirds of the UK’s first horizontal shale gas well was not fracked during a nine-week operation last autumn, according to reports that the company, Cuadrilla, tried to keep secret.

The documents reveal that the Preston New Road site near Blackpool experienced mechanical problems and lost equipment.

They show that quantities of frack fluid used in the operation were too low to qualify for the legal definition of associated hydraulic fracturing. They also confirm for the first time that a majority of earth tremors around the site were on days when fracking was carried out.

The reports are daily logs sent by Cuadrilla to regulators, giving information about operations, induced seismicity, frack fluid volumes, proppant and fracture lengths.

They are marked confidential and were not published on the company’s website, despite a recommendation by the industry organisation, UK Onshore Oil and Gas (UKOOG).

Cuadrilla did not reveal most of the contents to local residents or councillors and it sought to prevent release under freedom of information legislation (FOI).

The Environment Agency did release the logs recently in response to an FOI request by a member of the public. Analysis by DrillOrDrop has revealed:

  • Cuadrilla carried out just 15 main fracks between mid-October and mid-December 2018

  • Just 36% of the planned stages of the well had a main frack

  • Whole sections of the well were not fracked at all

  • On two-thirds of the fracking days there was at least one seismic event

  • Fracking used a fraction of the expected volume of fluid and proppant

  • Fracking paused for more than a month

  • Fracking equipment suffered a mechanical failure

  • The well had to be cemented and milled to solve the problem

  • Equipment became stuck in the well and was abandoned

Despite this, Cuadrilla said it had enough data to predict “a potential initial flow rate range of between 3 million and 8 million standard cubic feet per day”. Based on Cuadrilla’s figures, UKOOG upgraded its UK production estimates by 70% and predicted that at peak levels domestic shale gas could wipe out the need for gas imports.

First UK high volume frack for seven years

Cuadrilla announced the start of fracking at Preston New Road on 15 October 2018. There was intensive interest from the media, onshore gas industry and opposition groups. The well, known as PNR1z, would see the first high volume hydraulic fracture in the UK since 2011 and the first ever frack of a UK horizontal shale gas well.

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Protest outside Cuadrilla’s shale gas site at Preston New Road on the first day of fracking, 15 October 2018. Photo: DrillOrDrop

The operation continued until 17 December 2018. The following day, the company issued a statement that it was moving equipment off the site for Christmas.

Equipment began to return three weeks ago but there has been no public statement that fracking has resumed. In February 2019, Cuadrilla indicated that it would not frack again at Preston New Road until there had been a relaxation of regulations on induced seismicity.

41% of days fracked

Cuadrilla had permission to frack on weekdays and Saturday mornings. This gave it 56 available days between 15 October and 17 December.

The logs show that the company fracked on just 23 (41%) of these available days.

The operation was most intensive in the first fortnight when there were mini and/or main fracks on every available day.

But from 3 November to 17 December, Cuadrilla fracked on just seven of the 39 (18%) available days.

36% of stages fracked

Cuadrilla’s hydraulic fracturing plan said the company would frack up to 41 stages of the well. It planned to start at stage 1, the toe of the well, furthest from the site, and continue progressively towards stage 41, nearest the well head.

According to the daily logs, the company carried out main fracks on just 15 of the 41 stages (36%).

Fracking began at stage 1, as planned, and continued in the first week to stages 2 and 3. It then moved on to stages 12, 13 and 14, before jumping to the stages closest to the well head.

According to the logs, a total of 24 stages, making up entire sections of the well, were not fracked. These included stages 4-11, 15-17, 19-21 and 23-29.

Two stages, 18 and 25, had a mini frack only.

The company told the community liaison group of residents and councillors on 12 November 2018 that it had changed the order of the fracks to “further understand seismicity and obtain data”. It did not say it had missed out entire sections of the well.

17 main fracks

During the operation, Cuadrilla carried out 17 main fracks. Of these, 11 were in October.

There were no main fracks in November or the first week in December. There were six main fracks from 8-17 December 2018.

Two stages of the well each had two main fracks: stage 3 on 18 and 20 October and stage 37 on 8 and 10 December. 12 mini fracks were carried out during the operation.

Fracking and tremors

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Seismic events at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road shale gas site up to 14 December 2018. Source: Refracktion

Cuadrilla’s chief executive, Francis Egan, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on 15 October 2018 that fracking at Preston New Road would not cause earthquakes.

Very small tremors began on 18 October 2018, three days after fracking started. They continued until 14 December 2018. The British Geological Survey recorded a total of 56 seismic events, ranging from minus 0.8ML to 1.5ML on the local magnitude scale. Just two tremors were felt at the surface but opponents of the operation expressed concerns about the risks of seismic activity to the well.

The company never suggested that the tremors were unrelated to fracking. But until the release of the daily logs it had not been possible to see how closely they corresponded with pumping operations because Cuadrilla would not reveal all the days that it fracked.

We now know there were tremors on 15 of the 23 days (65%) when there were main or mini fracks. With one exception, there were no tremors on Sundays when Cuadrilla did not have permission to frack.

A gap in fracking corresponded with a gap in seismic activity. When fracking resumed, earth tremors began two days later.

Of the 23 days when there were main or mini fracks, eight days (35%) had no seismic activity. Three of these dates were when the company carried out mini fracks only. Three of the dates were at the start of the operation (15-17 October) and two were at the end (15 and 17 December). On 2 days, there was seismic activity but no fracking.

The strongest earth tremors happened when Cuadrilla was carrying out main fracks on the stages of the well closer to the well pad. For example, the 1.5ML tremor on 11 December was on the day that stage 38 was fracked. The second strongest tremor, 1.1ML, on 29 October, was the day that stage 32 was fracked. This was followed by a 39-day gap in main fracks.

The daily logs don’t provide information on the timing of fracturing so it is not possible to see how soon after injection there was seismic activity. This means it is not possible to check the number of red events under the traffic light system regulations. These are defined as seismic activity above 0.5ML that happen during fracking.

There does not appear to be a close relationship between the strength of seismic activity and the volume of frack fluid or proppant.

Frack fluid and proppant

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Extract from daily log for 17 December 2018

Cuadrilla’s hydraulic fracturing plan, which describes how fracking will be carried out at the Preston New Road site, said up to 756m3 of fluid would be used per fracking stage.

If the company had used the maximum volume on all 41 proposed stages, the fluid would have amounted to just under 31,000m3. This would have complied with the definition of associated hydraulic fracturing under the 2015 Infrastructure Act: fracking of shale involving the injection of more than 1,000 cubic metres of fluid at each stage or more than 10,000 cubic meters of fluid in total.

The logs show that the total volume of fluid injected at Preston New road for the 17 main fracks and 12 mini fracks was 3,869m3. The average volume for the main fracks was 218m3.

According to the logs, there were just three dates when the operation used at least half the proposed maximum volume: 417m3 on 17 December, 393m3 on 18 October, 384m3 on 22 October.

On three dates, main fracks each used less than 100m3: 19 October 33.9m3; 8 December 78.4m3; 10 December 99.5m.

The hydraulic fracturing plan said each frack stage would use up to 75 tonnes of proppant – the material used to prop open fractures. Cuadrilla later said it had expected to use 50 tonnes per stage but because of the seismicity regulations it had achieved this on only two dates.

The logs confirm this statement. Fracks using about 50 tonnes were on 17 December, the final injection of the 2018 operation, and 18 October, the third main frack.

According to the logs, seven fracking stages used proppant weights below 10 tonnes.

Month long fracking gap and mechanical failure

The logs showed there was no fracking between 3 November and 7 December 2018. This gap largely coincided with a mechanical failure with fracking equipment and efforts to solve the problem.

We asked Cuadrilla whether the fracking pause was caused by the equipment problem. The company replied that on this, and our other questions, it had nothing to add to the information in the logs.

We do know from the logs that the problem concerned mechanical sleeves surrounding the well that open during fracking.

Two sleeves, at stages 30 and 31, became stuck in the open position. These sections of the well had been fracked on 26 October and 27 October 2018.

There were seismic events on both these dates. Cuadrilla confirmed that the tremor on 26 October, measuring 0.8ML, counted as a red event under the regulations. This meant fracking had to pause for 18 hours. There was also a 0.8ML event on 27 October, which was described as a trailing event.

On 1 November, the log recorded that fluid from fracking both these stages of the well was flowed back. The following day, the company announced that it had begun to see gas reach the surface and it released a 12-second video of gas being burned in the flare.

Stages 30 and 31 were flowed back again on 2 November, according to the logs. Two days later, on 4 November, the log recorded:

“Coiled Tubing ran in hole to try to close sleeves 30 and 31.”

The following day, 5 November, Cuadrilla tried again to solve the problem. The log said:

“Coiled Tubing finished a logging run, came to surface, switched the BHA, ran in hole, tried to close sleeves, came to surface, re-dressed the BHA [bottom hole assembly on surface.”

According to the logs, the company tried again on 6 November:

“Coiled Tubing run into the well to attempt to close sleeves 30 and 31, pull coiled tubing to surface, and close well head master valve.”

The log recorded that the well was cleaned on 7 November and a day later prepared for a cement job to solve the sleeve problem. The record for 9 November said:

“Equipment maintenance and preparedness for the upcoming cement job.”

On three days, from 10-12 November, the logs reported:

“Waiting for equipment and material for the upcoming cement job”.

Cuadrilla told the High Court in October 2018, a day’s delay would cost £94,000. If this rate were applied to the sleeve problem, the cost by mid-November would have topped £1m. Cuadrilla did not respond to our question about delays.

On 12 November, there was a monthly meeting of the community liaison group (CLG) for Preston New Road.

The minutes, written by Lexington Communications for Cuadrilla, recorded that Cuadrilla’s then technical director, Mark Lappin, “provided an overview of operational activity”. There was no reference to the sleeve problems or the upcoming cement job.

According to the minutes:

“Mark Lappin advised that [gas flow] is now being analysed and confirmed that Cuadrilla intends to commence hydraulic fracturing over the coming days.”

The daily logs show that the next main frack would not be for nearly a month.

Calls for information release

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Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road shale gas site, 25 December 2018. Photo: Ros Wills

The CLG minutes also recorded a question about why the daily logs were not published on Cuadrilla’s website.

“Mark Lapin confirmed that daily reports are issued to the OGA [Oil & Gas Authority], EA [Environment Agency] and HSE [Health & Safety Executive], but advised that it is not a requirement to publish on the operator’s website. Clarifying this, he noted that the United Kingdom Onshore Oil and Gas (UKOOG), the representative body for the industry, had recommended this, but that was not a requirement.”

The minutes also suggested that the Environment Agency may be required to provide the logs if there was a freedom of information request.

According to the minutes, the Environment Agency officer at the CLG suggested:

“it may be beneficial for Cuadrilla and the regulators to be on the front foot by providing information that would be useful for the community.”

“No stage-by-stage fracking updates”

At around this time, people started to notice that seismic activity around Preston New Road had stopped. The British Geological Survey (BGS) last recorded earth tremors in the area on 4 November 2018. There were also rumours about why fracking had stopped (DrillOrDrop report).

On 11 November, DrillOrDrop asked Cuadrilla whether it had fracked in the week before the CLG meeting. The company told us:

“We are continuing to test our exploration well in Preston New Road, Lancashire, including testing the responsiveness of the shale to fracturing. We are also analysing the recent natural gas flow at the surface and other data which is available to us following the start of our hydraulic fracture fracturing programme last month. However, we are not giving a stage by stage update on each frac.”

After the CLG meeting, the logs for the next three days recorded more waiting for the cement job on the well.

On 15 November, DrillOrDrop asked Cuadrilla about suggestions that the well had been damaged. The company replied:

“There are no integrity issues with the PNR1z well”.

The next day, we asked:

“Are there any other problems with the well that might be considered to be damage but which don’t involve well integrity with PNR1z?”

Cuadrilla responded on 22 November with a statement:

“We are continuing to test the shale gas exploration well in Preston New Road, Lancashire, and the coiled tubing remains clearly and visibly attached to the coiled tubing tower on site above the well.

“We have completed a series of smaller fracks along the length of the horizontal well to gather data to assess the micro-seismic response of the shale rock 2km below the surface.

“We have said many times in recent days and weeks, to both local people and any media who have asked for an update, that we are now analysing that data as well as drawing on expert advice to determine how we can further optimise our hydraulic fracturing programme within the very rigorous operating boundaries of the micro-seismic traffic light system.”

A freedom of information request by DrillOrDrop revealed that the Environment Agency had been asked for the daily logs. A heavily-redacted email showed that Cuadrilla told the agency:

“We believe that all the data contained in our daily reports is commercially confidential”.

It also said:

“Please would you confirm that the Environment Agency will not be releasing any of these reports to the public without our consent.”

The company’s lawyers later asked for more time to respond to the request.

Cement job, cleaning and lost equipment

On 16 November, the logs recorded the cement job had been carried out on sleeve 30. The work on sleeve 31 took place on 17 November. The next day, the company waited for the cement to harden.

On 19 November, the log recorded:

“Ran coiled tubing into the well to mill to stage # 31.”

According to the logs, milling took place from 20-22 November. Four days of cleaning then began on 23 November.

On 26 November, the log recorded:

“Pulled coiled tubing to surface. Boot basket was empty. Upon inspecting BHA [bottom hole assembly], the mill, crossover, and bottom piece of the motor were left in the well.”

The solution, reported in the log for 27 November, was to push the equipment to the end of the well:

“Ran in hole with the bullnose BHA on coiled tubing and pushed the missing part of the previous BHA to TD.”

Fracking resumed on 8 December and continued for another eight days.

Relaxation of regulations

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Francis Egan, chief executive of Cuadrilla, BBC North West Tonight 15 October 2018

Since last year’s operation, Cuadrilla has called for a raising of the seismicity limit at which fracking must pause.

In a statement in February, the company said it had acquired 40,000 micro-seismic data points during fracking the PNR1-z well.

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

“We believe there is more than ample evidence to justify an expert technical review of the TLS [traffic light system] and, based on the outcome of that review, a revision at the PNR site, without compromising on safety.”

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Sir Edward Davey, 28 March 2019. Photo: Parliament TV

But Sir Edward Davey, the former energy secretary who approved the 0.5ML threshold, said in a parliamentary debate last week that any review must be based on “a significant amount of evidence”.

He said:

“So far we have had very few fracking experiences in this country, so we do not have anywhere near the number of data points or the amount of evidence that we would need to possibly allow anything to go forward.”

Information from the company’s logs raises questions about the limitations of last year’s operation at Preston New Road and whether the data meets the requirement of “a significant amount of evidence”.

DrillOrDrop acknowledges the help of Refracktion with data assembly. If you would like to see the daily logs please get in touch

105 replies »

  1. [Edited by moderator]
    Judith, you didn’t actually answer the question. How big do you think an onshore 40 well pad might be? In hectares (or football pitches if you prefer) please.

    • [Edited by moderator]

      The size of a 40 well onshore pad depends to a large extent on how small one needs to make it. The large ones that I’ve seen in Canada are around 10 acres, 4 hectares or 3 football pitches – whichever you prefer. However, one can easily make them far smaller.

      • [Edited by moderator]

        Oh dear Judith. Apart from your intentional vagueness here 3 football pitches would not be 4 hectares – 3 football pitches would be between 1.8 and 2.5 hectares, so you would seem to be missing a sound basis for your “authoritative” statements again.
        You and Mr Egan both seem to have the same trouble with football pitches don’t you?

        Given that the Encana RAB Davidson Pad in Midland County which they claim is capable of holding 64 wells will be on a pad the size of 16 football pitches (16 football pitches would be between 10 and 13 hectares by the way), I am very interested to learn your expert opinion that they will be able to squeeze 40 wells onto a pad smaller than the 2.6 hectare PNR pad.

        • Refrackion – very sorry that I progressed and stopped working in non-SI units about 30 years ago and have never taken up that horrid working class sport – I’m a bit better at estimating things in size of a polo arena.

          If you want to know about reducing the size of well pads you could always check out what the Dutch government planned – being so great at research I’m sure it won’t take you long to find out the answer.

          • I refuse to believe you are as much of a snob as you pretend to be – It’ almost as though you have a huge chip on your shoulder about not quite being posh enough!

            This Dutch government?

            “In February 2018, the Minister of Economic Affairs confirmed that the Dutch government will continue to deny permits for shale gas exploration, stating to parliament that “shale gas is not an option in the Netherlands any more. We are not doing it. It is over and done with.”15 It remains to be seen whether the government’s position will change once the current moratorium on hydraulic fracturing activity expires in 2020.”

            • Refraktion – I thought we were discussing the size of well pads not whether or not the Netherlands are going to push ahead with shale gas development. Between 2010 and 2013 the Dutch government supported a significant study to assess how shale gas could be developed in a country that has 3 times the population density of the UK. They came up with a very good strategy.

              In terms of your second point – it was quite an easy decision for the Dutch government to make given that the various studies conducted on their behalf suggested that the main shale gas play wasn’t sufficiently mature in most of onshore Netherlands. There are one or two areas that look quite liquid-rich. I wouldn’t write those off yet as the Dutch population are going to get quite used to seismicity given the fact that they are planning on developing lots of geothermal.

              BTW – I really am such a snob regarding most of the activities that the proletariat seem to enjoy

              • Well Judith I am indeed trying to get you to discuss the size of shale gas pads.

                If you are unable or unwilling to get into specifics perhaps you could post a link to the Dutch strategic report from 6 – 9 years ago on which you seem to be relying? (I assume you mean this one – “The possible risks and effects of exploration and exploitation of shale gas” – The full report is proving a bit elusive. I found the summary but it doesn’t really support your case I’m afraid.

                • Refraktion – maybe trying looking under governmental organizations – TNO – EBN. The Dutch are quite good at hiding their oil and gas infrastructure – the Schoonebeek field has probably the highest well density of any field that I’ve worked on and one can’t tell it’s there. The plans that I reviewed for shale gas were equally as good. The pad sizes and traffic were planned to be cut dramatically by piping in and out a lot of the raw materials, which meant less storage was needed on sight and less HP was needed for fracking.

                • I’m a still a a loss as to why you are so coy about discussing actual sizes of pads Jdith.

                  You keep talking about reducing pad size but you seem somehow unwilling to commit yourself to any kind of quantitative answer. It almost seems as though you don’t want to.

                • Refraction – I answered in the first post that I see no reason why one can’t get a pad size down to something slightly larger than an offshore platform. It’s ages since I worked on it but, from what I remember Brent Delta had about 40 slots and had an area the size of 1 football pitch. You’ll obviously need more storage space but there is no reason why one needs to get anywhere need the size of the Encana project that you are trying to scare people with – Encana always had a reputation for over-engineering projects.

                • Thank you Judth – that wasn’t hard was it?

                  OK so we have Judit claiming 1 football pitch ( 0.6 and 0.8 ha) for 40 wells. We have Cuadrilla with a pad of 4 football pitches (2.6 ha) for 4 wells. Igas tell their community that there will be just 5-10 wells per site, on an average site size of around 2.2 hectares, and we have Encana with pad of 16 football pitches for 60 wells. [Edited by moderator]
                  Golly it’s no wonder we are a bit cynical about the pros and their pronouncements really is it?

                • Refraktion – I think that I mentioned that a country with a population density that is 3 times more than ours, which already has a track record of minimize the impact of heavy oil production, had come up with a few ideas that are different to the way that it has been done in north America. However, you just choose to ignore the argument and go back to the way that it’s done in north America.

                • Udith – You may not realise but the population density of the Netherlands is almost exactly the same as Lancashire’s 488 / km2 compared to 483 Km2.

                  You are not a detail person really are you?

                • Refrackion – I’m certainly not a pedant thank goodness unlike some. I was comparing the UK with the Netherlands – it would be quite easy to find a part of the Netherlands where oil or gas is being produced that has a far bigger population density as Lancashire but that would be pointless – a little like your comment.

            • ‘check out what the Dutch government planned’

              Nov 2018

              ‘Having heard the deliberation, the House of Representatives, considering that there is no support whatsoever in the Netherlands for the extraction of shale gas due to the local risks for the environment and the striving to abandon the use of gas; calls on the government not only to ban shale gas extraction during this cabinet period, but also to exclude shale gas extraction on Dutch territory for an indefinite period thereafter, and to proceed to the daily routine’

              ‘It would therefore be particularly illogical if the shale gas permits are extended under the new Mining Act. Moreover, Minister Wiebes of Economic Affairs and Climate has promised to remove shale gas from the Substrate Structural Vision’


              • So, they just import it from Donald! (425k barrels/day of oil and NGL-even more than UK). Lucky old Donald.

              • That great lets cut using gas in the Nederland’s, but the reality is 89% of Dutch homes has a gas-fired boiler as there main source of heating. Good luck with the Dutch government namely the minister Wiebe’s of economic affairs and climate in producing their own gas stocks. Lets just buy all of our energy and en-rich these countries while we are at it. Shale Exploration, Drilling, Production and Consumption all has benefits, Gas is cleaner than Coal and Oil and it generates tax, employment and financial security which stimulates governments! What is it about Shale Gas Extraction the Anti’s don’t get! Discussing well pads, has anyone ever calculated farm acreage, golf courses and industrial estates. these swathes of land are way larger than the well pads in which will house hundreds of gas wells, and will be grass banked so as you are driving your fossil fuels 3litre diesel to Waitrose to pick up the groceries you will not be able to see it! More over once the gas is transferred to the Grid and you are enjoying cooking your Christmas Turkey or Nut Loaf (Vegan-aside).
                Will you really enjoy the trappings of good old UK produced GAS?

                • Eli – the anti’s don’t seem to realize that the Dutch have just invested 500EU million on building a plant that hads nitrogen to imported gas so that it works with their boilers etc. It doesn’t look like they will ditch gas in to near future

                • Cuadrilla’s failures in the Netherlands must have cost a fortune. I wonder how much of the constant decline of AJ lucas share price is related to the Dutch rejection of shale gas and Cuadrilla?

                • JohnP – we’ll just have to wait and see how the court proceedings go in the Netherlands. From what I hear, there’s a good chance of Cuadrilla getting quite a significant amount of compensation from the Dutch government – that should help fund a few more wells in Lancashire.

                • ‘that should help fund a few more wells in Lancashire’

                  They will need all the money they can get to pay for the millions spent and wasted on Roseacre, Becconsall, Annas Rd, Singleton, plus the millions lost in the technical failings at Preese Hall and the cost of 9 year delays. In case you were unaware the Becconsall site was passed unopposed in 2010 with permission to drill and frack. The cost of being forced to shut down must have had huge financial and strategic costs.

                  i doubt getting their licence money back from the Dutch Government is going to cover much but every little helps I suppose. In order to try and get compensation for money they may have made they would have to reference one of their other successful similar developments and we all know about those.

                • JohnP – it’s so good to have such an expert on Dutch law contributing to Drill or Drop. I’ll have to send the executives of the various gas companies who I presented to a few weeks ago as all of them were convinced the Dutch government would lose the court case and have to pay a lot in compensation. It’s great to know experts are on hand.

    • Hwy up John, What happened to your It’s all over at Xmas. Got that wrong and also your inside information was a joke just like you.

      • Well Lozza, it seems like it was. No fracking going on at PNR since early December there, and no sign of that seismic limit being raised. General Election coming and we all know that means curtains for fracking unless Mr Corbyn manages to miss the open goal.

        What inside information would that be by the way?

        You seem to be getting a little overwrought. Relax, this ranting isn’t doing you any good.

    • Just to interrupt this exchange – a few news items – world CO2 emissions are up probably because of greater world energy use, an inevitable consequence of economic development in India & China (2 billion people with GDP’s rising 6% a year) – but U.K. emissions in the U.K. fell in 2018 perhaps because of reduced coal use, it being replaced by a partnership of gas and renewables. The government now says that carbon emissions in the U.K. are at their lowest level since before the turn of the 20th century, when Queen Victoria was on the throne, which is pretty amazing.

      Also new research from a Canada suggesting that CO2 can be economically removed from the atmosphere and converted into fertiliser – like all new technologies, green or otherwise it will need to be proved to be effective and economic at large scale but encouraging nevertheless.

    • I don’t know the answer except to say that it will be a darn sight smaller than, for example, the proposed solar farm with 800,000 panels is to be considered by the government at Graveney in north Kent covering 360 hectares or 890 acres. Kent Wildlife Trust has objected to the plans, saying the development threatens wildlife, including marsh harriers.

      It really makes me want to weep when I hear Green activists talk about “industrialisation of the landscape” when you see these huge solar farms or drive up the Northumbria coast and see the forests of wind turbines across the countryside.

  2. So given Cuadrillas clear propensity for ‘obfuscation’ (despite that the watchers knew they had big problems with the well now confirmed by the elusive logs finally showing this) what can we now assume about the integrity of PNR1z and the unstable heavily faulted geology at PNR?

  3. Well, that was a lot about very little! A mixture of conspiracy theory and speculation about well size-a new version of mine is bigger than yours, but based upon speculation.

    I blame the diesel emissions. No wonder they want them banned from proximity to schools.

    “I am who I am” etc, etc. Let’s have a sing song.

    Coming back to reality, Aramco just been “discovered” to be the world’s most profitable company-about double Apple. Some Ponzi scheme!

    Methane discovered on Mars. That should be a challenge for the antis!

  4. Oh, don’t be bitter, reaction. Just been reading Sadiq Khan in the Times today?

    “It’s the poorest who suffer the worst impact from air pollution. We know that one of the primary causes of air pollution is filthy fumes, from diesel cars….” (Think he should have said “are”, but what do you expect from a politician.)

    And what is one of the most deprived areas of the UK? Ermm-Blackpool!

    Each individual doing their bit, according to the UN. Some, however, just counteract the bits others do and then expect others who do their bit to fund them to change their actions! Ever thus, but still an interesting insight into human nature.

      • And here we see again, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, the, by now, typical and concerted hypocrisy from the anti anti’s anti anti truth reversal agents.

        Because in fact, it is the actions of the fossil fuel fools that will produce many hundreds, if not thousands of 6 and 8 litre diesel poorly maintained expediently employed dirty trucks and HGV’s growling through villages and towns and polluting the children walking to and from school on their Park and stride school routes and also past their homes.

        Not to mention the pollution and dangers of the operators incompetence and cover ups of information that would have revealed their attempts to cover up releases of methane to communities and countryside that should have been informed at the very least.

        The many many HGV’S would be pouring out diesel particulates that would far exceed any well maintained regularly tested diesel car, and also the pollution of CO2 and methane pouring out into the atmosphere to promote more and more climate change that will endanger the health and lives of present and future generations in the name of greed and avarice and the great god of profit at the expense of anyone and anything, they dont actually care at all, it is all just empty frackodile tears.

        It has also to be remembered that due to the fossil fuel industry lobbying of governments and the transport industry that it was diesels that were supposed to be the answer to fossil fuel vehicle emissions in the first place and that people bought these polluting vehicles in the false impression that they were doing something good for the environment by doing so.

        But then of course another freedom of information request revealed that vehicle manufacturers such a Volkswagon and others had deliberately falsified the emission results and hidden the fact and kept it quiet.

        So that resulted in that diesel vehicles and cars were the favoured engine type to be purchased. And now of course we see the typically weak attempts of those that sought to profit from that lie, to vilify anyone for having a diesel car.

        That ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, is sheer and utter hypocrisy and is yet more evidence that the anti anti fossil fuel fools are now desperate to highjack….or rather lowfrack, all the arguments for their own purposes, as if they were the proponents of the dangers of climate change and pollution all along.

        As we all know that read Drill or Drop, that is entirely the reverse to the attitude that has pervaded the anti anti stance for the last six or seven years here. So that argument is of course, a blatant reversal of the truth of what was said here in shouty capital letters as often as they could.

        That has only recently become such an irrefutable and unarguable truth, that now they must highjack….lowfrack, the argument to attack anyone with their usual Sir Hugh Janus faced reversal of the truth arguments because what they really cannot bear, is to be seen to be wrong on anything.

        Fascinating isnt it, what next will they try to appear to have been “right” all along?

        Watch this space.

        • Anti Fossil Fuels, Anti Fraccing, Anti Shale, Anti HGV pollution guzzlers, Polluted Children and Polluted Water tables are all in the manifesto of the Anti’s, Anti’s who keeps a copy by their bad at night in a warm gas fired boiler home…

          The guilt ridden population of the UK has been educated that we have been polluting the globe, polluting our children and water tables, producing too many one use plastics.
          We are all guilty, we all used these products everyday, produced by the conglomerates, sold by the major supermarkets and we sat idlily by, enjoying every minute of it, while HGV’s replenish this stocks of one use plastics, while we check the internet for the latest plastic gadget, or purchase a holiday on a low cost airline flight like RyanAir (now according to the BBC, one of Europe’s top polluters). Will you will be booking that Spanish summer holiday on RA before the month is out, or picketing for them to change their ways?

          The International Civil Aviation Organization recently made moves to address the situation by adopting self-policing rules, calling for offsetting any carbon increases by planting trees or investing in cleaner technologies.

          Don’t POLLUTE THE WORLD! or lets write and book about it, well not just one book but a trilogy!
          Boys and Girls I give you the Shale industry!

          Ahem, According to government valuations – based upon current and projected markets – The UK oil and gas potential for total wholesale value is of at least £1.5 trillion at todays valuation. That will keep the government busy.
          This is influenced by soaring global demand for energy. The UK government predicts a 28% rise in demand by 2035 for Oil and Gas Energy,
          That is:- £1,920,000,000,000.

          • HA! Ha! That was fun wasn’t it ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls! Just to see the excitement and outrage that produced.

            And now they are trying to blame Ryanair for using the polluting fossil fuels that they themselves are breaking all the rules to make us all even more reliant upon.

            That is called hypocrisy.

            So what is the justification for plunging the entire planet into more climate change disaster?

            Money? Yes, Money.

            That old fraudulent mind virus and greedy soul destroyer, and now what we know that money is nothing more than what became Neo Classical Economics which is just banksters greed and control anyway, cobbled up by J. P. Morgan and his cronies to turn the entire world into mindless money slaves.

            It is now more profitable to encourage people to make war on each other than to live in peace, and division and political insanity is now becoming the norm, sheer and utter death cult insanity, just because it is more profitable for a few to foment war between peoples and countries that it is to reach out a hand for peace.

            Peace is not profitable, but war is, and guess what commodity is essential for a total war effort? You guessed it, gas and oil hence the moves by the USA to invade and exploit the greatest oil and gas reserves in the world, and that is Venezuela.

            No recognition of humanity, no recognition of what reliance on fossil fuels are endangering in this country, no recognition of the ongoing efforts to usurp democracy in the UK, no recognition of the future of our children and all future generations, no care for anyone or anything, no recognition of the continuance in any meaningful form of life on the planet and all the flora and fauna that dwell here and that includes us.

            Just greed and hatred and more and more and more money.

            And that folks, is all they have to offer, just more of the same old poisoned trap for the rest of us, and the so called benefits are not even for you, you will just be ripped of more and more, and are just the unwilling foil of their twisted joke, and to hell with everyone who gets in their way.

            We could have been self sufficient in energy terms in the early eighties when the scientists of Exxon and Shell’s own scientists said that reliance upon fossil fuels would lead to irreversible climate change, but that was suppressed and the deadly greed machine ground on and on until we see where it has brought us today.

            Gas is seen as just another money making scam to lock us into yet more years without the necessary change to renewable forms of energy that are the only sane way forward, because that will give us real long term energy security and short term non renewable fossil fuels cannot.

            Plastics can be made from renewable vegetable resources, if we really need them, but we should be moving away from that towards a renewable un-polluting alternative, graphene and carbon fibre seem to be the best alternatives for that.

            Gas can also be produced from renewable vegetable matter grown for the purpose.

            Even salt water can be used as a gas substitute, and that produces hydrogen which is combusted with a radio frequency at the point of need, no storage required, just inert salt water, and the waste product is water vapour.

            Oil can be made synthetically from the same vegetable matter and many military and private airlines use synthetically produced fuel.

            Vapourisers and water vapour injectors can be fitted to every combustion engine, that works and reduces emissions and increases efficiency, i know i have used them myself. But you will never see that here from the anti antis.

            Electric turbofans for aeroplanes are being developed as we speak, that will be the next big advance, not the step back which is being promoted here.

            We dont need any more fossil fuel exploration and extraction, and we dont want any more destruction of communities and the environment just to dredge up the last few expensive dregs of fossil fuels.

      • Oops, reaction. Seems your “mammoth” efforts not appreciated, so the fog is turned on! (I thought you were doing okay.)

        What were you saying about being paid by the word? Goodness, on that basis another 3 litre BMW diesel rolling off the production line! Maybe special edition with the vegetable oil option. All should help towards the potential share of the 50 billion Euro fine being sought by the EU.

        Perhaps I should write (fiction) about Mary Whitehouse having a library of porn that she would only get rid of if someone paid her to replace it with encyclopedias? Nah-who would believe that?

        Mind you, it is a funny old world. Some get excited about the strangest things.

        • Oh dear, poor Martian woken up again, still fog and vegetable oil fixated in stead of anything remotely rational i see. Sad really isnt it.

          What does Philae’s Fogg mean again Martin? “The End of Fog” wasnt it? Still not taken the hint then? I said what does….oh well, never mind, he’s off a gain….

          It does not fly Martian, and neither does Greta Thunberg….not even on Ryanair.


          • This is David Kesteven of Fracking Farmhouse with some interesting observations on Jim Ratcliffes investment dividends that benefit himself and his fellow share holders and how that compares with the much lesser investments in Grangemouth and elsewhere.

            As always



          • So says the guy with the ‘photos of the ladies undies hanging on a fence! (What happened to the £5k ‘photo prize? In contention?) Seems there are some to keep me company reaction. A few more in HOC yesterday-ahh, back to the ’60s-really novel!

            More smoke/fog required, reaction is exposed.

            (Quite apt-how did the Navy produce a smoke screen shown in the WW2 pictures?)

            But-thanks for the middle age compliment! Don’t encourage me to shed too many years, otherwise I will be avoiding my barber AND getting a BMW, ignoring how much brown coal it might take to build one.

            • Martians reply is typically just more empty rhetoric and irrelevant diversion from subject Refracktion.

              Like i have said before, its akin to throwing pebbles into a bottomless toxic fracking waste pond, initially amusing, but ultimately merely disturbs the best left unplumbed depths and spreads the resulting ripples of unwelcome detritus even further.

  5. Great data analysis piece – thank you Drill Or Drop? and Refraction. 3,869m3 of total fluid injected is only 39% of what would qualify it as “associated hydraulic fracturing” which is THE definition of fracking in the UK’s Infrastructure Act 2015. So, in hindsight, the regulators would not have considered this operation as fracking.
    The definition at the heart of the UK’s fracking regulations is WRONG. And this has serious consequences for places like the South East (plus Wressle, West Newton, Ellesmere Port and no doubt other locations), where pressurised injections of fluids mixed with a cocktail of chemicals are also allowed (but they don’t qualify as fracking under the current definition).

    • Hi Brockham Oil Watch, yes apologies for the diversion into the usual irrelevances, yes of course you are correct, what few regulations do actually apply are no where near sufficient for the operations of the unconventional high volume high pressure fracking activities and also the associated activities that attempt to avoid the word of fracking.

      The regulations, such as they are, were never meant to have any real world consequences for failure to comply of course, it was always just words and assurances to create the impression that the regulations were in place.

      But as we all know now those regulations have no appreciable consequences for the operators and even those are being attempted to be dispensed with. So the operators simply do what we have seen recently, monitoring suddenly fails at opportune moments and records are not released or admitted to, because that would reveal just how incompetent the operations are in reality.

      The chemical constituents of injection fluids and the various proppants and slip chemicals are similarly secretive since in spite of assurances, the proprietary products that are used have “confidential” secret constituents that are not commercially admitted to and are kept from the public.

      its a mess, and the industry knows that, which explains all these empty avoidances of actually saying anything at all other than frankly bizarre rhetoric and unsubstantiated “opinion”.

      • UK Regulators and the oil and gas industry approximates that the chemical additives make up only 1% of the water and fluid which is injected into a bore hole for use in hydraulic fracturing. OGA and Oil and Gas UK have some of the most stringent in the global o&g industry,
        Frac fluid ingredients are not secretive, you just need to look up the industry regulations: In the UK, unlike the USA, it is a legal requirement to disclose fully the composition of fracturing fluid additives. The fluids most commonly used for hydraulic fracturing are water-based and have sand added to keep fractures opening. There are also very small amounts of additives used, such as friction reducers.

        • But Cuadrilla want to increase the chemicals and change the volumes of the chemical usage don’t they. Its that same old slippery slope to no regulations at all, just as we have seen right down the line with onshore fracking and its claims of being harmless.

          What industry trade secret ingredients are being used all ready that we are not told about because many sites are still in the “old style” permission non regulations and they are not only required not to tell anyone what they do, they are not even required to keep records of their actions? How can we be assured what has been used when and where and how much of anything has been used?

          What trade secret ingredients proprietary products are proposed to be used by Cuadrilla now?

          Do we remember all the assurances that tobacco was so harmless?
          What about DDT?
          Agent Orange?
          What about fluoroscopes in shoe shops so that people could see the bones in their feet?
          What about the claims that Thalidomide was so harmless and beneficial?
          What about Diesel engine cars (even red diesels!) being such a boon for the environment?
          What about Neonicotinoid pesticides like round-up and many others that were meant to be so harmless to wildlife and humans and now all the bees and the insects are dying and so are we, and those pesticides are banned in most countries.
          What about the proliferation of transfats and supersaturated fats in fast food that were supposed to be harmless?
          What about refined granulated sugar and its chemical replacements such as aspartame and saccharine which turned out to be dangerous carcinogens and promoters of disease?

          All these were passed by industry promoted and funded “experts” as being perfectly safe, but as time went on they were revealed to be not only harmful, but positively deadly.

          So much for the “expert” recommendations and assurances that they were all so safe, it will be the same in the future, should we ever get one, for these additives and the ones they plan to add to the lists.

          • You’ve lost me Phil c, are you against onshore oil and gas exploration or against the whole world. You seem very angry!

            • Ahh! Stuck for an answer eh?

              Just telling the truth about the history of past industry “experts” telling porkies about product safety old thing.

              Nope. I leave the ranting anger to you lot as can be evidenced by your posts, probably because of having failed so miserably at fracking on the UK….

              However your words are familiar though, so many “contributors” with odd names saying the same old same old, apparently they are legion?

              • I am never stuck for answers, phil c, jono, reaction and toothill give me a good laugh everyday.

                Telling the truth?, but the world moves on. You do know we have evolved and we do not strike two sticks together to start a fire.

                Anger, I have never been an angry person. But when you post as you do I am very confused by your rhetoric..

                Explain ‘failed so miserably at fracking on the UK,
                As far as I have read the stimulation of 5% of the well at Cuadrilla’s PNR site they didn’t achieve Frac rates, due to the TLS so Failed is a bit premature. Phil C. I am sorry you were born with a one letter surname at least people could have easily found you in the phone book.

                • Ha! HA! Dear me, where prey does “Wise Merlin” or “Mordred” appear in the phone book?

                  The phone book of the Island of Lyonese (a bit wet) or Tintagel maybe?

                  Or Camelot? “That is a very silly place.” Perhaps it is protected by the knights who say “Ineos!

                  Give my regards to Morgana le Fay.

                  You get more amusing by the day old thing.

  6. That must make it true then reaction! Careful you don’t top up with vegetable oil by following the “truth”. All very 1984, following yesterdays ’60s.

    Just remember the “subject” was football fields, and Neo Classical Economics. Got to keep on subject!

  7. Eli-Goth, there is a something a little raw (perhaps clothes might help?) about there being a normal distribution of the majority making the majority of comments! Just shows the silent majority should not be assumed to be silent all the time.

    Meanwhile, the minority can carry on producing pages of boring wanderings to make up for the numbers, and encourage flagging excitement. Doesn’t seem to be working-perhaps that should be the anti moto?

    • How hypocritical that the most prolific ploppy poster of big headers and footers and last-word-itis, on Drill or Drop and the “flagging excitement” of the anti antis seems to have descended into desperation and personalisation of issues rather than actually addressing anything relevant.

      But Hey! We have seen all that before ad-infinitum and ad-nauseam here on Drill or Drop haven’t we ladies and gentlemen, boy and girls? Its like the only M.O. they have left and its becoming all they can say in their defence any more.

      However what this recent little flurry of desperate personal remarks and unfounded insinuations from the odd little multiple ID band of anti antis, rather than contributing anything rational or even relevant to the subject, only goes to prove just how damaged the fossil fuel fools are these days.

      However we can leave all this empty rhetoric behind and move on to something more interesting and revealing shall we?

      • There is an interesting report on Unearthed about the failure of fracked gas to reach any sort of investor confidence in USA and abroad and is the same here, due to the major expense of operations an little if any return and investors want a proven product, fracking does not provide any confidence at all, it is all in severe doubt.

        “The only well ever drilled in the Arctic wildlife refuge was a total dud: BP and others want to drill in the region and Trump has decided to give it to go-ahead, but what of the highly secret test drilling “The discovery well was worthless,” said Sidney B. Silverman, a retired lawyer who was involved in a long-since-forgotten lawsuit filed there in 1987. Not the only woeful tale for the industry this morning. Saudi Aramco has finally published production figures for its previously equally secret massive oil field – and they are much lower than people expected whilst US shale drillers are doing very well indeed at getting oil out of the ground, but still not so great at converting it into profit.”

        “Shell to quit US lobby group over climate change: From next year Shell will not renew its membership of American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, a trade association that represents nearly 300 US oil refiners and chemicals producers, in part because of the group’s opposition to a carbon tax or other prices on greenhouse gas emissions. The move signals the determination of the oil major to green its image. How-ever the picture across the industry is far from clear. The US securities and exchange commission has just thrown out a suit which attempted to force Exxon to adopt similar reporting rules to Shell (at their behest) whilst Saudi Aramco’s latest bond offering wearily noted that climate “litigation could result in substantial costs” rather than suggesting any attempt to avoid it. “We should not expect sustainability reporting to be very effective in inducing companies to prioritise planet over profit,” said Hans Hoogervorst, the head of the international accounting standards body at the University of Cambridge on Tuesday night. Mr Hoogervorst warned: “Greenwashing is rampant.”

        Meanwhile climate change bites deeper in Canada too.

        “Canada warming twice as fast as the rest of the world: Canada’s Arctic has seen the deepest impact and will continue to warm at more than double the global rate.The report came as the government imposed carbon taxes on four of Canada’s 10 provinces for failing to introduce their own plans for tackling climate change.”

        Solar now cheaper and becoming more so than coal and gas powered power generation plants. a change of fossil fuel to renewable infrastructure is now financially essential worldwide.

        “Building new solar, wind, and storage is about to be cheaper than operating existing coal and gas power plants. That will change everything – argues Ramesh Naam. Essentially he claims this economic shift will allow renewables to force out existing fossil fuel infrastructure. There is a caveat though, as renewable penetration increases it starts to eat itself – driving down wholesale prices and using up all the ‘best’ sites. He points to these as long-term problems, though in some parts of the EU & UK, they are pretty near-term.”

        the best way to fight CO2 emission consequences is to grow more forests and stop chopping them down. Time to re-green UK. Fossil fuel reliance is no longer an option.

        “Restoring Natural Forests is the best way to remove atmospheric carbon: Ok this isn’t entirely hopeful, writing in Nature Simon Lewis, Charlotte Wheeler et al argue that existing plans will fail because rather than restoring natural forests they envisage large plantations for the paper and pulp industry. “A closer look at countries’ reports reveals that almost half of the pledged area is set to become plantations of commercial trees (see Table S1). Although these can support local economies, plantations are much poorer at storing carbon than are natural forests, which develop with little or no disturbance from humans. The regular harvesting and clearing of plantations releases stored CO2 back into the atmosphere every 10–20 years. By contrast, natural forests continue to sequester carbon for many decades.”

        • Phil C: I see you have al of knowledge on USA and Canadian Shale.

          It is not sustainable for world population to reply on one energy source, This being Renewables.
          This does not answer the overall question. The world will not stop using Gas tomorrow or next week. Trees take 10’s of years to grow and are not a sustainable energy source for the long term, look at countries which have very little forests where will they import their wood from?

          Solar Voltaic Panels take up as much as a Shale well site, (ACRES up-on Acres) in order to get the benefit as an energy source, Ramez Naam but you cannot fly food produce cargo by electricity, and the electric car phenomenon is in its infancy. The more electric cars the more charging points, the more charging points, the more power stations, the more power stations the more land grab for Solar and Wind farms.

          We need paper and pulp, so if you have a heat incentive using green wood pellets or logs and the country changes overnight they isn’t the sustainable source to continue down that road in creating heat and water.

          The energy mix of the future to be honest is Fossil Fuels and Renewables working in Unison.

        • Phil C

          Re the report from Unearthed, second link.

          I am not sure that this is a woeful tale for the industry, maybe more woefull for the consumer and then Aramco in taking the company to the market …..

          The recently released production news ( the secret ) from the Gwahar field ( not secret ) shows it is not producing as others (Traders ) expected ( but exactly as Aramco expected of course ).

          This good news for the industry has cheered up oil traders and private producers no doubt ( less oil, higher prices ), especially those who produce in high cost regions ( N.Sea ) and maybe Permian Frackers.

          Aramco have one of the worlds lowest production costs and a surplus!

          It will also be good news for renewables as higher oil prices help investment in such alternative energy.

          Re the one well in the Alaskan Refuge, many prolific oil areas had a dud for their first well. Be that the North Sea ( the Clair Field in particular) but a dud conventional play is good news for the frackers ( higher oil prices ).

          So good news for the all round I guess, whichever way you look at it.

  8. “Flagging excitement” hit a nerve.

    But, for those who wish to actually add to their knowledge of what is happening currently regarding on shore gas/oil in UK, take a look at Angus today. I know it is actual, and relevant, but may add a bit to UK reality. Indications communication from the new board being improved. We shall see, but another step forward if it continues.

    • Sorry your nerves are so impacted Martian, never mind, soon be over.

      Ahh, An(g)us, that pillar of virtue, competence and operational expertise? Yes, we have seen how they have fared? they keep on changing the board, but still find the embedded incumbents problematical. With icons (I-Cons) like Angus, you don’t need enemas…..

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