Fracking plan approved for Cuadrilla's second shale gas well at Preston New Road site

Cuadrilla's Preston New Road site (JPIMedia)
Cuadrilla's Preston New Road site (JPIMedia)
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Cuadrilla's fracking plan for its second shale gas well in Lancashire has been given the green light.

The Environment Agency (EA) approved the plans, known as a Hydraulic Fracture Plan, on Monday (July 29).

Jeremy Corbyn at Cuadrilla's Preston New Road site on July 30 (JPIMedia)

Jeremy Corbyn at Cuadrilla's Preston New Road site on July 30 (JPIMedia)

It means that boundaries have now been set between the EA and Cuadrilla to ensure that the future well's integrity is maintained to protect groundwater, as well as making sure fractures stays within an established area.

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Cuadrilla submitted the plans for the second well at its Preston New Road site, known as PNR 2, in August 2018 before being formally submitted for assessment in May this year.

In its report, the EA said: "We consider that the proposals for micro-seismic monitoring are proportionate to the planned operations and adequate measures are in place for the protection of groundwater.

"We have checked that the operator will have the appropriate monitoring equipment in place and the procedures for installing.

"Cuadrilla’s daily report to us will include information on where fractures have gone in relation to the permitted boundary and well integrity status.

"Cuadrilla will inform the Environment Agency without delay if there are any issues of well integrity, any indication of fracture growth outside the permitted boundary, if pumping is changed due to possible fracture growth approaching the permit boundary or if there are significant seismic events which trigger the Traffic Light System (TLS).

"We will also request to see any additional data we deem necessary in accordance with our regulatory powers in a timely manner."

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The EA is set to put in place a programme of audits and inspections prior to, during and after, the injection stages to verify the data and decision making that is being used to inform the fracturing programme.

Francis Egan, chief executive officer at Cuadrilla, said: "We are very pleased that after detailed technical reviews the Environment Agency has approved the hydraulic fracture plan (HFP) for our second shale gas exploration well at Preston New Road.

"The HFP sets out how we’ll manage operations as a whole but specifically ensuring well integrity is maintained, groundwater protected and effective seismic monitoring.

"The EA team has visited and audited operations at Preston New Road 35 times since construction of the site commenced and will continue monitoring operations closely throughout the upcoming phases.”