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First shale gas produced from Cuadrilla site

Cuadrilla has announced that it has begun to see natural gas flow to the surface from its shale exploration well at the Preston New Road site, Little Plumpton, Lancashire.

The gas returned to surface, along with water being recycled from the shale rock, after hydraulic fracturing a small section of the shale surrounding the first horizontal exploration well, the firm has said.

Cuadrilla described the news as significant and indicative of the potential of the shale.

Cuadrilla chief executive officer Francis Egan 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 constrains, 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.”

Footage of the gas flow can be seen here

Egan said: “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.”

The company plans to fully test flow rates from the first two exploration wells towards the end of 2018 and into the new year following the completion of hydraulic fracturing operations which began last month.

Last week a third earthquake in four days has halted fracking at the site. A 1.1 magnitude earthquake happened on Monday 29 October, following two 0.8 magnitude earthquakes - the first on Friday 26 October which halted work for 18 hours, and the second on Saturday 27 October occurred after work was completed for the day.

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