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Cuadrilla to start fracking tomorrow after court ruling

Shale gas exploration company Cuadrilla will start fracking tomorrow after a last-minute injunction to stop the firm was dismissed today.

Cuadrilla has confirmed that it plans to start hydraulic fracturing operations at its Preston New Road shale gas exploration site in Lancashire tomorrow (13 October).

At the High Court in London today (12 October) Mr Justice Supperstone dismissed a last-minute request for an interim injunction to prevent the firm going ahead, and also dismissed a Judicial Review case against Lancashire County Council’s (LCC) emergency response planning and procedures for the Preston New Road site.

Mr Justice Supperstone concluded that there was no evidence to support the contention that LCC had breached any of the relevant duties concerning emergency planning.

Cuadrilla CEO Francis Egan said: “We are delighted to be starting our hydraulic fracturing operations as planned. We are now commencing the final operational phase to evaluate the commercial potential for a new source of indigenous natural gas in Lancashire. If commercially recoverable this will displace costly imported gas, with lower emissions, significant economic benefit and better security of energy supply for the UK.”

The hydraulic fracturing process will take approximately three months to complete for both horizontal exploration wells.

Cuadrilla will then test the flow of natural gas from those two wells with initial results expected in the New Year.

This year Cuadrilla has received consent from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) for two horizontal shale exploration wells at its Preston New Road site in Lancashire.

Consent was granted for the first horizontal well in July this year. The well was completed in April 2018 through the Lower Bowland shale rock at approximately 2,300m below surface and extends laterally for some 800m.

This second horizontal shale gas well was completed in July 2018 and was drilled through the Upper Bowland shale at an approximate depth of 2,100m below the surface, extending laterally for some 750 metres through the shale.

These are the first two horizontal shale exploration wells to be drilled onshore in the UK.

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