The shale gas company, Cuadrilla, wants more time at its gas production site at Elswick in Lancashire.
The company has submitted a planning application to Lancashire County Council seeking consent for the “retention, refurbishment and continued use” of the site for another five years.
It also sought permission for the continued generation of electricity from gas produced at the site.
The company said in a statement the application did not involve drilling, fracking “or indeed any major works”.
At the time of writing, the application had not been published online by Lancashire County Council. A council public consultation runs until 7 February 2020.
Elswick, in the Fylde, is Cuadrilla’s only gas production site. But data from the Oil & Gas Authority showed that the site produced no gas from January-September 2019, the most recent figures available.
It has a single vertical well, completed and stimulated by Independent Energy in 1993.
The gas was extracted from sandstone rocks (albeit quite low permeability), not impermeable shale. During the site’s early life, it generated 1MW of electricity from a small onsite generator, Cuadrilla said.
Company censure over Elswick
In April 2013, Cuadrilla was censured over claims about fracking at Elswick made in a community newsletter.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld six of the 18 complaints made in the newsletter and ordered Cuadrilla not to distribute it again without changes.
On Elswick, the newsletter said:
“Our permanent site at Elswick has been quietly producing natural gas since 1993. Located just off the main road in to Elswick … The Elswick well was hydraulically fractured in 1993 and extracts gas from the sandstone formation.”
The complainant, the campaign website, Refracktion, argued that this was intended to “provide a falsely reassuring comparison between what had happened on a vertically fracked well and what would happen in future, using horizontal fracturing”.
Cuadrilla said there was “no material difference and only immaterial technical variations” between fracking of the Elswick well and horizontal fracturing then proposed for the Preese Hall site, also in the Fylde. The claim had been made to reassure residents that the proposed techniques were similar”, Cuadrilla told the ASA.
But the ASA found the comparison between the two sites gave a misleading impression of the possible outcome. On this statement, it ruled that Cuadrilla had breached three of its codes.
- DrillOrDrop will follow Cuadrilla’s application for Elswick through the planning system