Cuadrilla moves equipment back to Lancashire drill site ready for fracking

Cuadrilla's fracking equipment at the Preston New Road site pictured last year before it was removed. The company said that it has now moved more kit back to prepare for fracking later in 2019
Cuadrilla's fracking equipment at the Preston New Road site pictured last year before it was removed. The company said that it has now moved more kit back to prepare for fracking later in 2019

Shale gas exploration firm Cuadrilla said it is preparing to frack its two Lancashire wells again later this year.

The firm said it had “remobilised a range of specialist kit” onto its Preston New Road site.

Cuadrilla chief executive Francis Egan

Cuadrilla chief executive Francis Egan

Although the equipment was not fracking pumps designed to get natural gas out of deep lying shale rock, it said it would get the two existing wells ready for further hydraulic fracturing.

The news came as onshore oil and gas trade body UKOOG said a new review of data from wells showed the amount of gas underground could be 72 per cent higher than in an original estimate by the Institute of Directors in 2013.

Ken Cronin, chief executive of UKOOG said: “This is a very significant upgrade to previous estimates. The industry to date has invested between £400m and £500m in exploring for shale gas in the UK, creating local jobs and supply chain opportunities.

“I am delighted at the way the industry has stepped up in delivering on the potential highlighted in 2013, and in fact there is a bigger opportunity."

Cuadrilla chief executive Francis Egan said: “The latest forecasting is clear about this opportunity. Based on our early well results as published in January, estimates now show the UK could reduce its dependency on imported gas by 50 per cent with just 60 sites, create £1.8bn in community benefits and up to 64,000 jobs by 2035.

"In addition the supply chain could benefit by up to £33bn. This is all achievable by simply investing in natural shale gas, establishing an energy policy that supports its development as part of a diverse energy mix and ensuring this significant resource is brought out of the ground to deliver these enormous benefits for everyone.”

A spokesman from Pro-fracking group Lancashire For Shale said: “These new forecasts suggest that Lancashire really is sitting on a world-class shale deposit, and that it has incredible potential to help meet a significant proportion of the UK's gas demand whilst cutting back on imports that come at a higher financial and environmental cost."

But Steve Mason for fracking opponents Frack Free United said: “The UKOOG report is an example of a trade body talking up its own industry for the benefit of its members, as any good, well-paid trade body would. Claire Perry MP confirmed again last week in Westminster, that there has only ever been two fracks in the UK, but somehow UKOOG seem to have built a whole scenario around one well that was only five per cent fracked and had to shut down because of the higher risk of earthquakes.

“It is nice to have confirmation that the industry planning thousands of wells across the UK.”

Dr Doug Parr, Chief Scientist for Greenpeace UK, said: “UKOOG’s ‘updated’ figures are six years out of date. They are still using a 2013 figure from the Institute of Directors, forecasting that the UK fracking industry would drill 4,000 wells, at a rate of 400 a year. This has been thoroughly debunked by the government in a Cabinet Office report, and by Dan Lewis, senior adviser at the IoD.

"Greenpeace are aware of two fracked wells in the UK, one at Preston New Road, currently inactive due to earthquakes, and one at Preese Hall, abandoned due to earthquake damage."