Cuadrilla has finished drilling the second horizontal shale gas well at its exploration site at Preston New Road, Lancashire.
This second well, drilled through the Upper Bowland shale at an approximate depth of 2,100m below the surface, extends laterally for 750m through the shale gas reservoir.
The first horizontal well was completed in April through the Lower Bowland shale rock at approximately 2,300m below surface and extends laterally for some 800m.
A vertical pilot well was drilled last year to a depth of more than 2,700m through the Upper and Lower Bowland shales, with the data gathered informing the decisions in locating these first two horizontal wells. Cuadrilla has consent to drill up to four horizontal wells.
Francis Egan, chief executive of Cuadrilla, said: “We are very pleased to have successfully completed drilling the UK’s first two horizontal shale gas wells.
“Subject to hydraulic fracturing consent being granted by the Government we plan to fracture the shale rock around these wells over the coming months and test the flow rates of natural gas from the shale.
“Our objective is to demonstrate that natural gas will flow from the shale in commercially viable quantities. In the process we look forward to demonstrating that the UK’s huge shale gas resources can be safely produced and make a major contribution to improving the UK’s energy security, whilst reducing our gas import needs and providing economic and environmental benefit.”
Cuadrilla’s efforts at Preston New Road have attracted vehement opposition. In June the business was granted a High Court injunction to stop trespassing at the site
Cuadrilla will now start to dismantle the drilling rig, which will be returned to mainland Europe.
The site team will then start to prepare for the fracking phase. This will include an initial flow test of both wells for approximately six months, Cuadrilla said. The intention is for the site to be plugged into the local gas grid in 2019.