Anti-fracking campaigners have accused Cuadrilla of leaving local people “in the dark” as more equipment was removed off the company’s Preston New Road site this week.
Frack Free Lancashire described drone images taken yesterday of the site near Blackpool as “more like an abandoned ghost town” than a “flagship fracking site”.
The company told DrillOrDrop there were about 30 people working on the site today, “in line with the work programme”.
The UK’s first horizontal shale gas well was fracked at Preston New Road between October and December 2018.
In March 2019, the company said in a statement it had delivered specialist equipment “designed to get two existing wells ready for further hydraulic fracturing later this year”.
Photos taken this week showed the removal of lighting gear, reinforced site surfacing, hoses and other equipment.
Today, Claire Stephenson, of Frack Free Lancashire said:
“Once again, the community is left in the dark regarding Cuadrilla’s movements at the Preston New Road site. Their communication has always been poor, aside from the glossy press releases they send out to appease investors and give them impression all is well.
“All is not well, clearly. The site is currently being emptied at a rapid rate and drone footage has shown it to be a sparse setting that no longer resembles the “flagship fracking site”, but more like an abandoned ghost town.
“It’s hard to see any positive progress for this non-existent industry in the UK. Not forgetting fracking’s geological issues in this country and health impacts (of which the government and industry have conveniently ignored), there is a clear climate crisis and there is no room for any new fossil fuel extraction.”
In a response, Cuadrilla told DrillOrDrop:
“Today there are about 30 people working on site at our shale gas exploration site in Preston New Road, which is far from an ‘abandoned ghost town’ and in line with the work programme being carried out currently.
“We confirmed last week to you that we were demobilising kit that we don’t own or need, which is simply good business practice. Please be reassured that work is ongoing and both our wells remain ready for hydraulic fracturing.”
The industry regulator, the Oil & Gas Authority, confirmed today that Cuadrilla did not have an approved hydraulic fracturing plan for the second shale gas well at Preston New Road, called PNR-2.