Fylde shale gas firm looking forward to new year ahead

Shale gas exploration firm Cuadrilla has removed some equipment from its Fylde site in the run up to Christmas.

Wednesday, 19th December 2018, 3:53 pm
Updated Wednesday, 19th December 2018, 4:58 pm
The drilling rig which was at the Preston New Road site for many months

The fracking firm said it would be bringing it back in 2019 after 2018 had been “a landmark year”.

But opponents, who are challenging the Government over changes to planning guidance to councils over fracking sites in the High Court this week, said the equipment should be removed permanently.

Chief executive officer Francis Egan said: “It has been an amazing year. We drilled the first two horizontal wells into UK shale, both safely and successfully completed, secured the country’s first ever hydraulic fracture consent and agreed the associated operation plans and then hydraulically fractured our first well.

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Cuadrilla chief executive Francis Egan

“In recent weeks we have repeatedly seen natural gas flowing back to surface along with the water injected during the fracturing process and this flow of gas is in fact earlier than expected.”

Cuadrilla said next year it would continue fracking the two existing wells and the drilling of two more there.

A spokesman from Frack Free Lancashire said the 57 earth tremors since fracking started in October worried Fylde residents.

He said: “Frack Free Lancashire welcomed the news that Cuadrilla is retreating from the site over Christmas to lick their wounds. 2018 has indeed been an amazing year for Cuadrilla, but not in a good way.

"They have suffered serious delays, breached their permissions on at least nine occasions, provoked 57 earthquakes and seen their parent company’s share price drop like a stone.

“Cuadrilla’s only hope for 2019 would now appear to be to persuade the government that the “gold standard” regulation, that the community was promised to protect it from seismic activity, should be weakened to allow them to carry on. This must not be allowed.”