Cuadrilla updates its Lancashire exploration programme
Cuadrilla has announced that it intends to apply for planning consent to hydraulically fracture and test the shale at its existing exploration well at Grange Hill. It has also announced that it intends over time to apply for consent to drill, hydraulically fracture and test the gas flow at up to six new temporary exploration well sites in the Fylde. A decision on drilling and testing at the existing Anna’s Road site will be deferred until later in the exploration programme. Cuadrilla has appointed Arup, the engineering and environmental consultancy, to undertake Environmental Impact Assessments for each application to drill, fracture and flow-test. The precise locations of the new sites and the order in which they might be drilled will be determined over the coming months.
Cuadrilla will also apply for planning consent to drill up to three further vertical exploration wells. These wells will not be hydraulically fractured. They will allow additional rock samples to be taken, and further improve knowledge of the subsurface geology; their locations will be discussed with the community before they are finalised. These operations will be discrete from the proposed exploratory works detailed above.
A further stage in determining how much of the natural gas reserves can be recovered from the shale would be to test gas flow from some of the hydraulically fractured exploration wells over an extended period.