First shale gas production from Lancashire fracking site, UK

Cuadrilla announced on Friday that it saw shale gas flow to the surface from its exploration well in Lancashire. The shale gas, at its Preston New Road site, returned to the surface together with recycled water from the shale rock. The company has been hydraulic fracturing a small section of the shale that surrounds the first horizontal exploration well.

The Lancashire-based oil and gas exploration and production company described the news as ‘significant.’ It is indicative of a the potential of shale, the company added.

Cuadrilla’s CEO (Chief Executive Officer) said:

“The volumes of gas returning to surface at this stage are small. However, considering that we are only at the very start of fracturing operations and, given operating constraints, have not yet been able to inject as much sand into the shale as we had planned, this is a good early indication of the gas potential that we have long talked about.”

The company plans to fully test rates from the first two exploration wells at the end of this year and into the New Year.

Fracturing operations began in the Preston New Road site in mid-October 2018.

Initial shale gas encouraging

Mr. Egan added:

“This Preston New Road site is being monitored to an unprecedented level. This initial gas flow is by no means the end of the story. However it provides early encouragement that the Bowland Shale can provide a significant source of natural gas to heat Lancashire and UK homes and offices and reduce our ever growing reliance on expensive foreign imports.”

“This week, three huge tankers carrying liquefied natural gas from across the world, including shale gas imported from the US, will dock in the UK to safeguard our winter gas supplies. If we are able to fully test these wells, without compromising on safety, we have the potential to make a major difference to UK energy supply, security, and economic prosperity.”

Shale gas - Cuadrilla image
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Two Earth tremors

At the end of last week, the shale gas exploration stopped for 48 hours because of a 0.76 magnitude Earth tremor.  According to Cuadrilla, it was a ‘micro seismic event.’

Within 24 hours, Cuadrilla equipment detected a second minor tremor. The two tremors occurred within eleven days of the fracking site getting the go-ahead to explore.