Press Release – Cuadrilla looking to unlock Lancashire energy resource with new gas well

August 21, 2012

Cuadrilla Resources has announced that it will submit a planning application for a horizontal well at its Anna’s Road site.

The British company is exploring for natural gas in Lancashire and by drilling a horizontal well at Anna’s Road will be able to gain a better understanding of the consistency of the Shale rock and if the gas trapped within it can be viably recovered.

Cuadrilla’s CEO, Francis Egan, said:

This new well is an important part of our on-going exploration programme and will progress the work we are carrying out to understand whether it will be viable to recover the natural gas beneath the Bowland. By advancing the exploration programme with this horizontal well we will move closer to unlocking what is potentially a very important energy resource for Lancashire and for the UK.

The horizontal well will be an extension of the vertical well currently being drilled at Anna’s Road, for which Cuadrilla gained planning permission in November 2010.

Horizontal wells are an established industry technique and have been used around the world for many years, including in the UK. Perhaps the most notable British example is at Wytch Farm, on the southern shore of Poole Harbour in Dorset. This site, which is the largest onshore oil field in Western Europe, extracts natural gas and oil from horizontal wells that extend from the Dorset site deep beneath the surface.

The horizontal well planned at Anna’s Road will be 8.5 inches in diameter and extend approximately 1,000 metres from the vertical well over one mile beneath the surface.

Cuadrilla’s Development Director, Mark Miller said:

The horizontal well we are proposing is fairly modest when you compare it to others that have been drilled in the UK and the hundreds of thousands drilled around the world. However, the information we will be able to gather from this relatively short well will be invaluable in helping us to understand how much natural gas can be recovered.

Drilling from the existing vertical well at Anna’s Road – once completed – over one mile down, the narrow extension will start to ‘bend’ gradually into a horizontal path.

The exact direction and depth of the horizontal well will be determined by Cuadrilla’s expert geologists and engineers after the geological information from the completed vertical well and the information from the recent geophysical survey is analysed.

As part of the planning process, the company has set out two arcs within which they plan to drill one well (see included image). Once plans have been finalised, Cuadrilla has said it will share the path of the well with the local community before drilling gets underway.

Cuadrilla will submit a planning application to Lancashire County Council for permission to drill the well. Before the plans are submitted, the company would like to give people living in the area around our site an opportunity to find out more about what is involved in drilling a horizontal well.

As part of this, Cuadrilla is holding a Public Information Day on Tuesday 4th September from 17.00 to 20.30, in the function room at Pipers Height Caravan Park on Peel Road (FY4 5JT), where members of the senior management will be on hand to talk with residents on a one-to-one basis.

Cuadrilla has also updated its website with information about the Anna’s Road site and the technical processes involved in drilling, and continues to operate its Freephone Information line which can be called on 0800 170 1115, on weekdays from 9.00am until 5.30pm.

Notes to editors

  1. Cuadrilla has thus far completed the drilling of three wells in the Lancashire license area, as part of its exploration programme. All three have been vertical wells.
  2. The drilling of a vertical well is currently underway at the Anna’s Road site. This will be the fourth well Cuadrilla has drilled in its exploration programme. Planning permission was received for this work in November 2010.
  3. This application is for the drilling of the horizontal well and will not seek permission to undertake hydraulic fracturing of the gas reservoir. Should we wish to undertake this process in the future we would need the approval of the Department for Energy and Climate Change and separate planning permission from Lancashire County Council.
  4. Hundreds of thousands of horizontal wells have been drilled across the world, going back many decades. A prime example of a site with onshore horizontal wells in the UK is at Wytch Farm on the southern shore of Poole Harbour in Dorset.