Cuadrilla has successfully completed drilling the UK’s second horizontal shale gas well at its exploration site at Preston New Road in Lancashire.
This second horizontal well - drilled through the Upper Bowland shale at an approximate depth of 2,100m below the surface - extends laterally for some 750m through the shale gas reservoir.
The first horizontal well was completed by Cuadrilla in April through the Lower Bowland shale rock at approximately 2,300m below surface and extends laterally for some 800m.
A vertical pilot well was drilled last year to a depth of over 2,700m through the Upper and Lower Bowland shales and the data gathered from this pilot well informed the decisions in locating these first two horizontal wells.
Cuadrilla CEO Francis Egan said: “We are very pleased to have successfully completed drilling the UK’s first two horizontal shale gas wells.
“Subject to hydraulic fracturing consent being granted by 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 make a major contribution to improving the UK’s energy security, whilst reducing our gas import needs and providing economic and environmental benefit.”
Cuadrilla will now start to dismantle the drilling rig ready for its return to mainland Europe. The site team will then start to prepare for the hydraulic fracturing phase.
Following hydraulic fracturing of the first two horizontal wells, Cuadrilla will run an initial flow test of both wells for approximately six months.
In 2015, Cuadrilla appealed Lancashire County Council’s (LCC’s) Development Control Committee’s decision to refuse planning consent for two applications for temporary shale gas exploration sites including the site at Preston New Road.