Shale gas company Cuadrilla is to apply for planning consent to carry out fracking at its Grange Hill site in Singleton – and at six new Fylde sites.
The company has today announced it is also to apply for permission to drill three new vertical test wells to further explore the resource of gas beneath Fylde’s fields.
The news comes just a week after the Government gave the shale gas industry a boost by announcing measures to streamline planning and regulation and a report from the British geological Survey which suggested natural gas resources in Bowland Shale rock was double previous estimates at 1,300 trillion cubic feet.
Cuadrilla’s statement also said a decision on drilling and testing at the existing Anna’s Road site will be deferred until later in the exploration programme.
It said the six sites will be temporary exploration wells and the precise locations will be revealed over the coming 12 to 18 months.
And it added that at a later stage extended gas flow tests would be carried out at some of the fracked sites to see how much of the gas can be extracted. Francis Egan, Cuadrilla’s chief executive, said: “The purpose of all our ongoing exploratory work is to demonstrate natural gas can be produced from the shale in commercial quantities.
“By sharing our plans for the exploratory programme, we hope that people will have an understanding of what we plan to do and why.
“The British Geological Survey last week confirmed the exciting scale of Lancashire’s gas resource, and we look forward to working closely with local communities and regulators as our exploration work progresses.
“The UK increasingly depends on imports for its supplies of gas. According to a recent report by the Institute of Directors, natural gas from Lancashire could lead to thousands of new jobs, higher tax revenues and lower emissions. We remain at the exploration phase of assessing the possibility, and together with our new partners at Centrica Energy, we are committed to doing this transparently, safely and sensibly.”
Gayzer Frackman from Frack Free Fylde said his group was concerned about health implications and asked that Cuadrilla name the new locations. He said: “They say they want to be transparent but they are not saying where these tests are to take place.
“We want to know exactly what will happen to the millions of gallons of fracking fluid from these wells.”
Tina Rothery from Residents’ Action on Fylde Fracking said: “We continue to be concerned at the rush to extract shale gas before the safety of residents and our resources is assured.
“We will object to planning applications and urge others to do the same. The Department of Energy and Climate Change has stated that Cuadrilla has “demonstrated some weaknesses in its management of environmental risks” after the tremors at Preese Hall and we have seen nothing to make us think they have improved their practices.”