Cuadrilla Resources, a Fracking firm, said that it had found a “very sizeable quantity” of natural gas at its exploration site that is located in Lancashire as the company prepares to drill what will be the first horizontal well of the United Kingdom in shale rock.
The new data was acquired by recovering some 375 feet of core samples from a well that is located at the Preston New Road site. It suggests that the rock quality is excellent for fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, and holds a high natural gas content in various zones within the shale.
Cuadrilla said that it is “exceptionally well positioned to drill its first two horizontal wells into the gas-rich zones.”
The chief executive of Cuadrilla, Francis Egan, said that the new information gives him “great confidence.”
Egan stated: “Cuadrilla has planning permission to drill up to four exploratory horizontal wells in the shale rock underlying its site at Preston New Road. The initial vertical sections of the first two of these wells have both now been drilled, and we have just commenced the drilling of what will be the first horizontal well in UK shale.”
The firm said that the fracking is likely to start in the second quarter of this year.
Permission to begin fracking at the Preston New Road site was granted last October 2016 by Javid, the communities secretary who overruled an earlier decision from the Lancashire County Council, and work started in January of last year.
Last April, a High Court judge dismissed two legal challenges that were made by anti-fracking protesters regarding the way that Javid granted planning permission for the site.
Preston New Road Action Group appealed against the said decision. However, today the Court of Appeal also dismissed the said claims and refused permission for the parties to appeal to the Supreme Court.
Egan said that Cuadrilla was pleased that the challenges were “robustly dismissed.”
He stated: “Local businesses and workers in Lancashire continue to benefit from the significant investment and jobs that our operations are bringing to the county.”
About the gas findings of the firm, the chief executive of UK Onshore Oil and Gas, Ken Cronin, stated: “This is not just good news for Cuadrilla, but also for Lancashire, which has seen nearly £5m worth of investment into its local economy and over 50 jobs created in the area since the company relocated to Lancashire in 2016.”
Earlier this week, Cuadrilla won approval for the exploration for oil in the West Sussex village of Balcombe, another area that has prompted large anti-fracking protests.