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UK fracking company announces major milestone

04 April 2018

On April 3, Cuadrilla Resources said it had completed drilling the UK’s first horizontal well into a shale gas formation at a site in Lancashire, as a prelude to starting hydraulic fracturing (fracking) operations from the site this summer. The company said it has discovered a "very sizeable quantity" of natural gas at the Preston New Road site.

The Preston New Road site - Image: Cuadrilla
The Preston New Road site - Image: Cuadrilla

Cuadrilla said the development was a “major milestone” towards the first shale gas exploration in the UK since 2011, when work was halted after it triggered a minor earthquake. The company said it hoped to begin fracking at the site near Blackpool in the summer, pending government approval.

This is the first of four wells to be drilled from the pad. The latest logging data, acquired by recovering some 375 feet of core samples from a well at the site, suggests the rock quality is excellent for fracking and holds a high natural gas content in several zones within the shale.

Cuadrilla said the well had been drilled about 2,700 metres below ground and it ran 800 metres through the shale gas reservoir. The company said it would now begin drilling a second well and had planning permission for a total of four wells on the site.

Francis Egan, Cuadrilla’s chief executive, said: “Our completion of the UK’s first ever horizontal shale gas well is a major milestone towards getting Lancashire gas flowing into Lancashire homes as we lead the way on UK exploration.

“From the data we have amassed so far we are optimistic that, after fracturing the shale rock, natural gas will flow into this horizontal well in commercially viable quantities demonstrating that the UK’s huge shale gas resources can be safely produced and contribute to improving the UK’s energy security.”

Another shale gas explorer, Third Energy, was expecting to start fracking operations at its site in Kirby Misperston in North Yorkshire at the start of the year, but that has been delayed until October while the government scrutinises its finances.

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