Cuadrilla has received hydraulic fracturing permission from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy for its second horizontal shale exploration well at Preston New Road, Lancashire.
In July, Cuadrilla became the first operator in the UK to win final consent from BEIS to begin the fracking process, at its first horizontal well at Preston New Road. All other planning and permit requirements are in place, giving Cuadrilla a green light to proceed.
Francis Egan, chief executive of Cuadrilla, said: “We are currently completing works on site in readiness to start hydraulically fracturing both wells in the next few weeks.”
Egan said that using more coal would be a “massive backwards step” in reducing carbon emissions, as would continuing to import gas over long distances by pipe and ship. He concluded: “We are very proud to be the first operator in the UK to make significant headway in shale gas exploration.”
Cuadrilla began drilling in Lancashire last year. The first horizontal shale well was completed in April 2018 through the Lower Bowland shale rock at approximately 2,300m below surface – this extends laterally for around 800m.
The second horizontal shale gas well was completed in July 2018 and was drilled through the Upper Bowland shale at an approximate depth of 2,100m below the surface, extending laterally for some 750 metres through the shale. They represent the first two horizontal shale exploration wells to be drilled onshore in the UK.
Following hydraulic fracturing of these first two horizontal wells Cuadrilla intends to run an initial flow test of the gas produced from both wells for approximately six months.
The arrival of Cuadrilla has attracted voluble opposition both locally and from groups including Friends of the Earth, with protests at the site only curtailed by the imposition of an injunction.
However, there is also some support locally. Grimsargh businessman and steering group member at Lancashire For Shale, John Kersey, said: “This is really welcome news. Cuadrilla now has all the permissions it needs to start fracking again so we can finally discover how soon all this gas we’re sitting on will be able to start heating our homes and businesses.”