Cuadrilla granted hydraulic fracture consent for first horizontal well

Cuadrilla has secured final hydraulic fracture consent for its first horizontal shale gas exploration well at its Preston New Road site.

Cuadrilla fracking Preston New Road

The first horizontal shale gas well was completed by Cuadrilla in April through the Lower Bowland shale rock at approximately 2,300m below surface and extends laterally for some 800m.

Now the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has granted the final piece of relevant planning and permits required to operate the site.

Cuadrilla is now in the process of preparing to apply for consent to carry out hydraulic fracturing operations for its second horizontal shale gas exploration well at the same site.

A second horizontal shale gas well was completed this month and has been 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.

These are the first two horizontal shale exploration wells to be drilled onshore in the UK. Following hydraulic fracturing of these first two horizontal wells Cuadrilla will run an initial flow test of the gas produced from both wells for approximately six months.

Francis Egan, CEO of Cuadrilla, said: “We are very pleased to be the first operator in the UK to have been awarded final consent to hydraulically fracture the UK’s first onshore horizontal shale exploration well.

"It is a win for Lancashire, which has already benefited directly from over £10m of investment as a result of our exploration works at Preston New Road to date. We now look forward to submitting a fracture consent application to BEIS for our second exploration well and moving on to fracture the shale rock and flow the natural gas which we believe will make a major contribution to reducing the UK’s gas imports and improving our environment and economy.”

Lee Petts, chairman at Lancashire For Shale, added: "This is fabulous news for Lancashire, putting it squarely at the forefront of the UK's nascent shale gas industry.

"The opportunity for local suppliers to gain a significant first-mover advantage cannot be overstated. Already, operations at Preston New Road have seen millions of pounds spent with Lancashire businesses, and the scope for that to grow in the future is astonishing - there really is nothing with the quite same potential to change the game for Lancashire's economy. "We are delighted that the Secretary of State has recognised this potential, and given Cuadrilla the final approval it needs to get on with demonstrating that Lancashire shale gas can be recovered in commercial quantities so that we can better assess the role it will one day play in meeting our energy needs as a nation."