A SHALE gas firm is to seek permission to resume drilling at a Fylde site.
Hundreds of letters have been sent out by Cuadrilla Resources informing residents near its Anna’s Road site in Westby the company now wants to start horizontal drilling.
The process would be an extension to the existing vertical well shaft to explore further how much natural gas, trapped deep in shale rocks, can be recovered.
The company was given permission in December to resume exploration after a break since May 2011 when two earth tremors led to activity being halted until an investigation could be carried out.
The process, which involved shattering the shale rocks and injecting water to force out the gas, is a controversial one with environmentalists and some residents concerned it could lead to more tremors and pollution locally.
Now Cuadrilla has asked Lancashire County Council for planning permission to drill horizontally into the shale rocks deep beneath the surface.
Cuadrilla CEO Francis Egan said: “The horizontal exploration well will help us to advance our exploration programme, enabling us to explore more of the shale formation and to better understand the consistency of the shale rock and the natural gas held within it.
“Doing so will, we believe, move us closer to unlocking what is potentially a very significant natural resource for Lancashire and for the UK.”
Gayzer Frackman from Frack Free Fylde said Cuadrilla should not be extending the drilling without making sure the technology is safe.
He said: “An integral part of these wells are the concrete seals which act as a plug and these have not been proven to be safe.
“We asked the Health and Safety Executive to look at them but we have heard nothing back.
“Until the HSE inspect and carry out tests the horizontal drilling and further exploration should not go ahead.”