Cuadrilla, the energy exploration company disclosed that it is awaiting an approval from the government for fracking Britain’s first horizontal shale oil well, amidst years of protests and administration reviews into this unconventional extraction of oil & gas. If the approval comes through, the company expects to frack the first well drilled at its Lancashire site around September.
For the record, fracking is the process of injecting liquids, sands and chemicals at high pressure to fracture shale rocks for extracting oil and gas. This method of exploration is highly debated in Britain due to concerns regarding the probable contamination of underground water aquifers and damage to the surface environment.
From the point of view of Cuadrilla, fracking of the first horizontal shale well could indicate a crucial milestone, as its initial attempt at fracking in 2011 resulted into widespread demonstrations, reviews and legislative changes, sources close to the matter commented. As per reports, the company first tried to frack shale rock in Blackpool in north-west England, after which tremors caused by unusual combinations in the geology of the site could be felt.
Sources at the company informed that it will conduct flow testing along the two Lancashire wells after fracking, for around 6 months before connecting them to the local gas grid. Cuadrilla also believes it will be able to assess the gas reserves in the Lancashire license by fracking.
According to Francis Egan, the CEO of Cuadrilla, the company aims to prove that natural gas can flow from shale deposits in commercially feasible quantities. He further expressed that the company will do its best to demonstrate the prospects of safely extracting gas from U.K.’s huge shale resources.
Reportedly, other companies like Third Energy and UKOG are also lining up to explore onshore natural gas in Britain by fracking. Industry experts believe that while oil and gas deposits diminish in the North Sea, fracking could boost Britain’s energy security by supporting the development of the shale industry.