Cuadrilla drills horizontal well at second site

Cuadrilla is another step closer to fully realising its fracking ambition in Lancashire after completing the drilling of a horizontal well at its Preston New Road exploration site.

Cuadrilla fracking Preston New Road

Last year, a vertical pilot well was drilled to a depth of over 2,700m through the Upper and Lower Bowland shales to gather data.

Following positive results a horizontal well has been drilled through the Upper Bowland shale at an approximate depth of 2,100m below the surface. It extends laterally for some 750m through the shale gas reservoir.

This follows an earlier horizontal well drilled through Lower Bowland shale rock in April, 2,300m below the surface and 800m in length.

Cuadrilla will now run an initial flow test of both wells for approximately six months.

Francis Egan, CEO of Cuadrilla, said: “We are very pleased to have successfully completed drilling the UK’s first two horizontal shale gas wells, as we continue to lead the way on UK shale exploration.

"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 will now start to dismantle the drilling rig, in readiness for its return to mainland Europe, and this is expected to take a few weeks. The site team will then start to prepare for the hydraulic fracturing phase with much of the required equipment already on site.