A drilling rig for the UK’s first horizontal shale gas wells has today arrived at Cuadrilla’s Lancashire exploration site at Preston New Road. The rig will be used to drill the first two horizontal wells.
Commented Francis Egan, CEO of Cuadrilla: “We are very pleased to have taken delivery of the drilling rig to our shale gas exploration site. The drilling of the first horizontal exploration wells into UK shale rock will be an important milestone in unlocking a vital new source of natural gas for the country.
“With the decline of North Sea gas and our ever-increasing reliance on gas imports, including shale gas imported from the US, developing an indigenous source of natural gas is critical for UK energy security, our economy, jobs and the environment.
“We are proud as a Lancashire company to be at the forefront of that effort.”
A Lancashire For Shale spokesman added: “Lancashire For Shale congratulates Cuadrilla on achieving this significant milestone in the journey to deliver a new source of natural gas supply for the UK and to ensure that Lancashire in particular benefits from the resultant opportunities, jobs and investment.
“It is time now for the national protesters to accept that shale gas exploration is a reality and necessary for our country’s energy security. They need to move on from their unnecessary protests and lock-ons, which are achieving nothing, except causing dismay and disruption to the local population.”
This year Cuadrilla plans to drill two of the four horizontal shale gas exploration wells that it has planning permission for. A pilot well will be drilled, which will be approximately 3,500 metres deep. Samples will be taken from this pilot well at various levels within the shale rock to decide where best to drill the horizontal wells. Then the first two horizontal wells will be drilled at depths of between 2,000m and 3,500m. There is no precedent in the UK on how long the horizontal wells through the shale will take to drill, however Cuadrilla currently estimates these will be completed before the end of 2017.
Cuadrilla Resources is a British company which aims to lead best practice for unconventional hydrocarbon exploration in Europe. It is acutely aware of the responsibilities this brings, particularly with regard to safety, environmental protection and working with local communities.