Fracking firm reveals secrets of its drill site

An image taken from Cuadrilla live feed from the Preston New Road drill site
An image taken from Cuadrilla live feed from the Preston New Road drill site

Fracking firm Cuadrilla completed a first in the UK by offering an online tour of its Preston New Road drill site near Blackpool.

The firm put together a series of short films to show how the site works and how the drilling process operates along with a live broadcast answering questions from the public at the site.

They were presented by former BBC political reporter Jim Hancock who was talking to Eric Vaughan, Cuadrilla’s Well Service Manager.

Mr Vaughan revealed that they had drilled two wells so far, one down to a depth of 1,300m but were aiming to reach around 3,500m.

He said they would be drilling horizontally due west from the site near Little Plumpton towards the sea following the strata of shale rock in which the gas is held and the actual hydraulic fracturing of that rock would take place early next year when the drill rig had gone and a different set up would be at the site.

The fracking phase could take around three months, followed by a testing phase when gas would have to be burned off. If all was well the gas would then go straight into the national grid for use.

They showed the “top drive” of the drill rig, the scores of pipes which connect to the various drill bits for the well, the liquid mud pumped down the pipes to cool the drill bit and which then returns up the well hole carrying the rock cuttings back to the surface.

Answering questions from the public they explained how monitoring of air and water was being carried out and how the lining of the well was constructed. The site can be seen at pnrlive.co.uk and monthly updates are planned.

Matt Lambert, Director of Public Affairs at Cuadrilla, said: “We are delighted to launch another innovative initiative which will make it possible for people in

Lancashire to see what is happening on site and follow the progress of our shale gas exploration.

"PNR Live will give everyone the chance to see and learn about our operations at Preston New Road from their mobile, laptop or desktop computer and put questions direct to our experts.”