Cuadrilla's bid to carry on at longstanding Fylde gas well

Gas exploration company Cuadrilla has said a bid to extend planning permission at one of its sites will not entail fracking.

Sunday, 12th January 2020, 7:00 am

The firm has applied to Lancashire County Council for planning permission for the “retention, refurbishment and continued use of Elswick Generation Station for natural gas extraction and electricity generation for a further five years.”

The Elswick-1 well was drilled and fracked in 1993 by Independent Energy before being transferred to Warwick Energy which then sold it on to Cuadrilla in 2010.

Although the well was fracked, it is in semi-porous sandstone rock rather than the Bowland shale at its other sites which may require several wells and fracks to get the gas out.

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A Google Maps view of the Roseacre area showing Cuadrilla's Elswick gas production site as the square on the mid-left and Roseacre Wood, where a proposed shale fracking well was planned, on the far right

The well’s gas was used to produce electricity on site as it was so far away from the main gas pipe network.

A Cuadrilla spokesman said: “This is an existing and longstanding site with a single producing gas well.

“The application is to retain and extend the producing life of this well, allowing Elswick Generation Station to be used for natural gas extraction and electricity generation for a further five years.

“This planning application does not involve drilling, fracking or indeed any major works.” Consultations over the bid will run until February 7.

The notice posted on the gates near Cuadrilla's Elswick-1 gas well

But opponents poured scorn on the move.

A spokesman for Frack Free Lancashire said: “The Elswick well is, of course, infamous because Cuadrilla were censured by the Advertising Standards Association for making exaggerated and misleading claims about it in a community newsletter in 2013.

“Cuadrilla seem to be clinging on with their fingernails to their last (and now presumably only) chance of having a productive gas well in the Fylde. The whole exercise seems rather pointless.”