Cuadrilla Says Drillrig Has Arrived at UK Site
Cuadrilla Resources said July 27 that the drilling rig that will be used to drill the first two horizontal wells to be drilled into UK shale rock has been delivered to its shale gas exploration site at Preston New Road, Lancashire, in northwest England.
CEO Francis Egan said: “We are very pleased to have taken delivery of the drilling rig to our shale gas exploration site. The drilling of the first horizontal exploration wells into UK shale rock will be an important milestone in unlocking a vital new source of natural gas for the country. With the decline of North Sea gas and our ever increasing reliance on gas imports, including shale gas imported from the US, developing an indigenous source of natural gas is critical for UK energy security, our economy, jobs and the environment.”
This year Cuadrilla says it plans to drill two of the four horizontal shale gas exploration wells for which it has planning permission. A pilot well will be drilled which will be some 3,500 metres deep. Samples will be taken from this pilot well at various levels within the shale rock to decide where best to drill the horizontal wells. Then the first two horizontal wells will be drilled at depths of between 2,000 and 3,500 m. It said there is no precedent in the UK on how long the horizontal wells through the shale will take to drill, but it estimates these will be completed before the end of 2017.
The site has witnessed daily protests by environmental activists opposed to shale gas exploration, but was cleared by the authorities and courts for drilling/fracking operations months ago. Initial fracking nearby was suspended in 2011 after minor tremors and the imposition of a year-long moratorium by the government on all shale exploration.