Fracking in Lancashire will begin in the next few months despite protests from environmental campaigners, gas exploration company Cuadrilla confirmed.
The firm has completed drilling the UK’s second horizontal shale gas well at the exploration site at Preston New Road and is preparing to begin fracking to test the flow rates of gas. The testing of both wells is expected to take about six months.
Cuadrilla chief executive Francis Egan said: “We are very pleased to have successfully completed drilling the UK’s first two horizontal shale gas wells, as we continue to lead the way on UK shale gas exploration.
“Subject to hydraulic fracturing consent being granted by the government we plan to fracture the shale rock around these wells over the coming months and test the flow rates of natural gas from the shale.
“Our objective is to demonstrate that natural gas will flow from the shale in commercially viable quantities.
“In the process we look forward to demonstrating that the UK’s huge shale gas resources can be safely produced and made a major contribution to improving the UK’s energy security, whilst reducing our gas import needs and providing economic and environmental benefit.”
Campaign groups have protested against the plans and say that the method has a negative impact on the environment.
The well was drilled through the Upper Bowland shale about 2,100m underground and extends for around 750m through the shale gas reservoir.
The first horizontal well was completed in April through the Lower Bowland shale rock at about 2,300m below surface and extends laterally 800m.
A 2,700m deep vertical pilot well was drilled through the Upper and Lower Bowland shales last year.
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