Cuadrilla, the company exploring for natural gas in Lancashire’s Bowland Basin, plans to submit a modified planning application to Lancashire County Council to carry out a number of different diagnostic well tests on their exploration well at Banks. The tests will not involve hydraulic fracturing, as envisaged in the previously submitted planning application.
The diagnostic well tests will help the company to acquire further valuable information on the characteristics of the shale rock and the fluid and gas locked within that rock.
Cuadrilla will be taking samples of the fluid and gas from the shale rock formations and measuring the in-situ pressure of gas and fluid. The data will be used along with other data from future planned exploration work programme to help determine how much natural gas might be recovered from the Bowland shale beneath Lancashire.
The decision has been taken after the completion of a detailed review of the results of the Geophysical Survey of the Fylde carried out last year. The highly accurate, three-dimensional subterranean mapping data has proved extremely useful in helping Cuadrilla to grade target areas within the underground shale. As such, the company intends to locate sites where they propose both to drill and to hydraulically fracture exploration wells within areas covered by three-dimensional seismic mapping.
The actual testing programme will be of a limited duration, and will take approximately three months in total, of which approximately one month will be well testing and the remaining two months a period when pressure gauges sealed in the well at the level of the shale rock will be recording pressure data.
Francis Egan, Cuadrilla’s chief executive, said:
‘The proposed diagnostic tests are a key part of the ongoing exploratory process of determining how much natural gas is trapped in the shale rock beneath Lancashire. The valuable data that we can obtain from testing the well will help us to understand how much of the gas within the Bowland basin can be viably recovered.’