Cuadrilla to examine licences in preparation for exploration, says partner


Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road shale gas site, 18 December 2019. Photo: Maxine Gill

Cuadrilla’s Australian investor has suggested that the shale gas company will be looking at new exploration sites next year.

In a statement to shareholders, the mining group, AJ Lucas, said:

“During calendar year 2020, Cuadrilla will conduct an examination of various acreages ahead of an anticipated resumption of exploration activities.” AJ Lucas operational update

Cuadrilla is currently doing a 3-6 month pressure build up test of the shale reservoir at its Preston New Road site near Blackpool in Lancashire. (See also Methane venting and Revised monitoring sections below)

Hydraulic fracturing at the site was suspended by regulators on 26 August 2019 after Cuadrilla caused the UK’s strongest fracking-induced earth tremor. Several thousand people told the British Geological Survey they felt the 2.9ML tremor and several hundred reported damage to their properties.

Just over two months later, the government announced a moratorium on fracking across England. This was based on the conclusion of studies into tremors induced by an earlier phase of fracking at Preston New Road in 2018.

The Oil & Gas Authority concluded it was “not possible with current technology to accurately predict the probability of tremors associated with fracking”.

The energy secretary, Andrea Leadsom, said:

“After reviewing the OGA’s report into recent seismic activity at Preston New Road, it is clear that we cannot rule out future unacceptable impacts on the local community.”

Today’s statement from AJ Lucas said Cuadrilla would “continue to assist the relevant authorities in recommending a lifting of the moratorium on hydraulic fracturing”.

It continued:

“While the current timing of a lifting of the moratorium remains unclear, the results of the recent UK election provide the industry with comfort that the long-awaited period of stability will return to the UK and will allow the government to address priorities facing the United Kingdom post Brexit such as the domestic energy opportunities.”

DrillOrDrop invited Cuadrilla to comment on the statement. This post will be updated with any response.

Cuadrilla’s operations have so far focussed on the Fylde area of Lancashire in licences PEDL165 and EXL269.

But Cuadrilla operates eight PEDLs secured in the most recent licence round in 2015/2016. These are across East, West and North Yorkshire. So far, there has been no public information about any potential exploration sites in these licences.

The company also holds a 56% stake in the Balcombe licence in West Sussex, operated by Angus Energy.

Methane venting

The Environment Agency (EA) announced today that Cuadrilla had vented a total of 155kg of methane during recent nitrogen lifting at Preston New Road.

In its latest site update, the EA said:

“This was compliant with the environmental permit, with minimal environmental impact and at levels that did not represent a risk of harm to people.”  Preston New Road Community Update 12 – 19 December 2019

The update also said Cuadrilla breached a condition of its permit on methane monitoring. The company did not follow the deployment protocol in the Environmental Management and Monitoring Plan.

The EA said:

“Cuadrilla did not inform the EA of deployment of a methane monitor and the data was not reviewed for abnormal results within 48 hours of the end of the monitoring period. The data has since been reviewed to confirm that there were no abnormal results.”

Revised monitoring

The EA also announced a revised programme of monitoring by Cuadrilla of groundwater, surface water and air quality at Preston New Road

It said the new procedures would begin on 6 January 2020. This followed the removal of all waste from the site, it said.

The EA said it would continue its own ambient air monitoring and surface water monitoring “for the foreseeable future”.

The update also said the Oil & Gas Authority continued to review micro-seismic data from August’s fracking operations and the Health & Safety Executive accepted there were no well integrity issues and was content with the plan to suspend PNR2

  • A group of campaigners against operations at Preston New Road is seeking to raise money to test the water quality in ponds near the site.


20 replies »

  1. Methane venting-did the EA monitor how much was vented by the neighbouring cows?? And, not just during “lifting” but every day of the year?

    Could be an interesting comparison.

    • Martin, i refer you to my post on the Election results round-up.

      If anyone is unaware of the subject or the questions that require answering, then i suggest you go and have a look and you will see why it is necessary.

      David King
      December 19, 2019 at 3:16 pm

      I suggest you reply with your apologies at your earliest inconvenience Martin.

    • “During calendar year 2020, Cuadrilla will conduct an examination of various acreages ahead of an anticipated resumption of exploration activities”

      A very odd statement considering the recent facts,

      The Royal Bank of Canada have been working with Kerogen and are considering an out right sale of Cuadrilla.

      AJ Lucas came up $A18.2m short of it’s goal on recent fund raising

      and if those problems had been sorted out why would Cuadrilla have recently laid off key staff members?

  2. Martin,

    “A single cow, on average, releases 70 to 120 kgs of methane per year. Now, it is important to remember that we’re talking about a single cow. Worldwide, there are approximately 1.5 billion cows and bulls, each emitting that much methane.”

    So Cuadrilla vented about two cows annual equivalent from the well. Local dairy farmers are causing a lot more environmental harm than Cuadrilla…..

    Hopefully they flared a lot more otherwise it is a dead duck…..

    • But don’t forget the 6.8 *tonnes* they got a telling off for with the first well! They are naughty little tinkers aren’t they?

      And did you see how much methane that Ohio well emitted when it blew out?

  3. No, I saw no methane in Ohio! I have worked for a company based in Ohio. Absolutely freezing in the winter. But, the chlorine washed chicken was delicious. Much more to my taste than UK chlorine washed lettuce that pollutes UK rivers, and takes up EA resources.

    Did you “see” how many (tens of thousands) are to be chucked out of their houses in DRC to enable more cobalt to be exploited and more kids killed?

    Election results David? Was that the stonking great majority for Boris? The one that left Labour (depleted) front bench today looking like the old days of the Soviet Union where the Politburo has just been told the harvest has failed again. And the new Tories, who have within their midst the first openly gay Muslim MP. Quite interesting times. But we still have the following, from the Chief Political Correspondent at the Times:

    “Kevin Foster, 40, the MP for Torbay who has become a Home Office minister, has been described as one half of “British Macrons” because his wife is almost 30 years older than him”!!!

    Yet the Times is £1.80 a go. Come on, earn your money. Pass that on to your cheaper sister paper for inclusion. That really is Devlin journalism.

    Not to worry, we have a few more weeks of similar around the Trump circus. Republicans turn to bat now. I suspect they will put up a better showing on this particular wicket. Could build up a big score, and in so doing, end a few careers amongst the opposition. Pelosi captaincy looks to be under pressure. Bidden could be found to have a dubious technique in the top order and then the long tail could be quickly polished off. The crowd seems to be supporting the big hitter team.

      • And, are we to believe Norway and France have measured methane emissions from all oil and gas industries, or is the word “reported” a clue? Looks like some careful semantics to suggest something it may not show.

    • No Martin. you said i was untruthful, and you refused to admit that it was you that was untruthful. Not me. You further attempted to avoid admitting your own failure to converse with integrity, probity, truthfulness, or veracity, just as you have done here. And also you accuse others of your own actions with same lack of integrity, probity, truthfulness, or veracity,.

      For anyone to see what is being referred to look at the Drill or Drop subject – ‘Key staff quit Cuadrilla as company scales down fracking site’ and ‘the Election results round-up’.
      David King
      December 19, 2019 at 3:16 pm

      Clearly Martin you are unable to admit your own failure to answer with any adult sentiment or probity that anyone could normally expect in an adult discussion. You have therefore declared yourself that your own actions in this respect are juvenile and discredited.

      I declare any and all avoidances and accusations from you to be groundless subject to your own self generated twaddle and conspiracy theory. The very words you accused me of and then attempted to say it was me that was untruthful, when it was your culpability in that respect, not mine. That is not in any way an adult manner to proceed on any subject.

      That is an end to any confidence i have in your standing on any subject you have twaddled on about to date or in the future.

      • You have left me absolutely distraught that I can not match your standards, in your own eyes, David!

        However, I have now recovered, having noted how you have manufactured your “outrage”.

        I suggest if that is the only way you have left to deal with my comments, you simply ignore them rather than become so excitable.

        Meanwhile, I will stick to the reality, so best for you to avoid.

        • The only ‘outrage’ Martin, is your in your own words. Reality exists elsewhere. As it always has. In truth. I see nothing in your words that resemble truth.

          • Chill out, David. The election has taken place, the result is decided. You may not like it and wish to rage but it could have been worse. Another 20 seats to the Tories if the Brexit Party had not stood for instance. Maybe another 20 if the boundary changes had been introduced-as they will be. True or false? True.

            Perhaps time to re-embrace Tony, and dust off “Things can only get better”?? However, noted a debate last evening in HOC about clamping down on voter fraud, so that avenue may be about to be blocked. More truth, less falsehood-what’s not to like?

                • And Chorley still isn’t any nearer to the Fylde, Martian.

                  I see you have lost none of your abilities for making friends and influencing people.

                  Even the pro -fracktavists on DoD seem a little tired of your bluster. Although there does seem to be a bit of that going about at the moment as highlighted during the recent election

                • There is a lot of shale gas under Chorley though. A well drilled nearby by Amoco in the 1980s confirmed this.

  4. More propaganda aimed at the investors trying to up the share value, saleability and wage structure for the remaining staff at Cuadrilla!

    I think the failure of the Gold Standard Monitors to even enforce the requirement that a proper wheel wash facility was installed at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road fracking site or that HGV vehicles entering and leaving the site abided by the agreed Traffic Management Plan should cause great local concern should any planning applications to restart operations be lodged, no matter who by!

  5. Mother Earth has decided that the fracking industry will not succeed in the UK and will continue to provide evidence in the form of swarms of ever stronger earthquakes to ensure this is the outcome.

    Our population density, limited water supplies and unstable ground has always made this outcome inevitable. Let’s hope no further harm is caused by the greedy investors, politicians and frackers in the meantime!

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