More than 130 local business people and residents gathered at AFC Fylde to hear about the need for and benefits of a shale gas industry in the area, and Cuadrilla’s progress in 2018.
The event, organised by pro-frackng campaigners Lancashire For Shale, brought together local supporters, members of the supply chain, and others with a keen interest in seeing a successful shale gas industry being developed in the county.
Speaking on the night, Cuadrilla CEO, Francis Egan, highlighted the drilling and hydraulic fracturing progress made this year at its Preston New Road site.
He said: “A lot has happened over the last 12 months, and I am delighted to say it has culminated in Cuadrilla starting the first hydraulic fracturing operations since 2011 into UK shale.
“We are very encouraged by how well the shale rock is fracturing, and by the fact that natural gas has already begun to flow.
“This is indicative of a very productive shale. We expect to have completed our initial fracturing operations by the end of this year, and we will then test the flow rates of natural gas, with initial results expected in the first quarter of 2019. We are pleased that we can now start to make production of UK shale gas a reality.”
Speaking about the implications of being overly reliant on imported gas, Mr Egan reflected on how last month three cargoes of Liquefied Natural Gas entered the UK from the US, Egypt and Qatar.
He said it was better for the economy, energy security and the environment if the UK produced more of its own gas instead.
Lee Petts, chairman of Lancashire For Shale, said: “The size of this event is testament to the fact that support for this industry has grown considerably in the past year now people have been able to finally see for themselves that the threatened harms they’ve heard so much about from campaigners over the years just haven’t materialised.”
“Meanwhile, they’ve seen Cuadrilla sticking to its promises of openly reporting its environmental monitoring results and prioritising Lancashire businesses for contracts, having now spent more than £11.5 m with local firms.”