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    Cuadrilla Aims for Shale Gas Production in 2019

Summary

Cuadrilla has completed drilling the UK's first ever horizontal shale gas well and said it might be producing by next year.

by: Mark Smedley

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Cuadrilla Aims for Shale Gas Production in 2019

Cuadrilla said April 3 it has completed drilling the UK's first ever horizontal shale gas well and has indicated it might be producing by next year.

Following the completion at its exploration site at Preston New Road in Lancashire, northwest England, Cuadrilla says that work will now begin drilling the second horizontal shale gas exploration well, with planning consent granted to drill a total of up to four horizontal wells on the site.

Cuadrilla plans "in the very near future" to apply to the government’s Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark for consent to fracture this first horizontal well – which penetrated the Lower Bowland shale at a depth of some 2,700 metres below ground, and which extends laterally for some 800 metres through the shale gas reservoir. Earlier this year it reported that samples from the shale reservoir were promising.

The company says it plans to be in a position to hydraulically fracture both the first and second horizontal wells in 3Q2018. It would then run an initial flow test of both wells for roughly six months with plans to then eventually connect those wells to the local gas grid network in 2019. CEO Francis Egan said its data suggested that gas will flow “into this horizontal well in commercially viable quantities, demonstrating that the UK’s huge shale gas resources can be safely produced and contribute to improving the UK’s energy security.”

Cuadrilla also said, of its other proposed shale gas exploration site at Roseacre Wood in Lancashire, a new planning inquiry, focussed on highways issues only, will start April 10. Permission to drill there was refused in 2015 on grounds of noise and traffic impact but, following a planning inspector’s report, Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said October 2016 he was “minded to grant” approval if the problem of heavy trucks on rural roads could be addressed.

Cuadrilla is owned 47% by Australian drilling services firm AJ Lucas, 45% by US private equity firm Riverstone, and 8% by Cuadrilla employees past and present.