A CONTROVERSIAL gas drilling company is to begin exploring a new site in Westby.
Cuadrilla Resources is moving its drilling rig to Anna’s Road, near Westby, for exploratory work.
The rig is set to take a few weeks to set up on the site and is expected to remain there for a few months.
Once the well drilling is completed the rig will be dismantled and removed.
The rig will drill a well as part of the company’s exploration programme, to understand the area’s geology and ascertain how much natural gas is contained within the shale rock beneath.
Cuadrilla has stated that at this stage no hydraulic fracturing operations will be taking place at the Anna’s Road site.
The well will be Cuadrilla’s fourth exploration well, following drilling operations in Singleton, Weeton and at Banks in West Lancashire. The company also has a producing well site near Elswick, which has been producing natural gas and generating electricity on-site since 1993.
Fracking involved blasting pressurised water and chemicals at shale rock to release trapped gas.
The process has triggered earth tremors on the Fylde coast and is currently banned.
Francis Egan, chief executive of Cuadrilla, said: “Our exploratory drilling over the next few months at Anna’s Road will help us to quantify how much natural gas lies within the shale rock deep below the surface.
“This has the potential to be a very exciting and hugely beneficial resource for Lancashire and the UK.
“Once our operations are underway, we’re looking forward to welcoming local residents on pre-arranged tours so that they can see for themselves the precautions and best practice techniques we use to ensure our operations are carried out safely.”
But Philip Mitchell, of the Blackpool and Fylde Green Party, said: “I’m very concerned about the public health impact of fracking”
Mr Mitchell added: “I’m also concerned about wildlife, the protected Moss area, and I know there’s fears about the stability of land in St Annes with sand which could cause problems.”