Lancashire-headquartered Cuadrilla has received final hydraulic fracture consent from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) for its first horizontal shale gas exploration well at its Preston New Road site in Lancashire.
All other relevant planning and permits required were already secured, the company said in its statement.
The company is now in the process of preparing to apply for consent to carry out hydraulic fracturing operations for its second horizontal shale gas exploration well at the same site.
Speaking of the permit, Francis Egan, CEO of Cuadrilla, said the company has become the first operator to receive a “final consent to hydraulically fracture in the UK’s first onshore horizontal shale exploration well.”
“We now look forward to submitting a fracture consent application to BEIS for our second exploration well and moving on to fracture the shale rock and flow the natural gas which we believe will make a major contribution to reducing the UK’s gas imports and improving our environment and economy,” Egan said.
The first horizontal shale gas well was completed by Cuadrilla in April 2018 through the Lower Bowland shale rock at approximately 2,300m below surface and extends laterally for some 800m.
The second horizontal shale gas well was completed this month and has been drilled through the Upper Bowland shale at an approximate depth of 2,100m below the surface, extending laterally for some 750 meters through the shale.
These are the first two horizontal shale exploration wells to be drilled onshore in the UK.
Following hydraulic fracturing of these first two horizontal wells, Cuadrilla will run an initial flow test of the gas produced from both wells for approximately six months.