Fracking is unlikely to restart at Cuadrilla’s controversial site in Lancashire this year, the company admitted today over a month since an earthquake ripped through the site, bringing an end to drilling.
Instead the firm said it would ensure Preston New Road will not be brought to a standstill as it tests how much gas flows from the well. It will help assess how much gas is under ground.
“We believe that this will further demonstrate the huge commercial opportunity here,” said Francis Egan, the chief executive of Cuadrilla.
The flow testing comes after the company found it could extract gas from a separate well at the site in February this year.
The well was already fracked in early August, causing several earthquakes, including a record 2.9 magnitude tremor which locals reported had damaged their nearby properties. Cuadrilla has said it will pay for repairs.
Current regulations require frackers to temporarily stop if they measure an earthquake above 0.5 on the Richter scale. But after the 2.9 magnitude quake, the Oil and Gas Authority stepped in, forcing Cuadrilla to stop indefinitely.
The company said it was still working with the regulator to figure out what happened and what can be learnt from the tremor.
“A timeframe has not been agreed with the OGA for this work to be completed and further hydraulic fracturing will not take place at Preston New Road before current planning permission for fracturing expires at the end of November,” it said.
Egan added: “We are committed to exploring for shale gas with the aim to establish a domestic energy supply that the UK really needs. The Bowland Shale as a whole could be a very important resource for Lancashire and the UK and we plan to continue with our work to prove this.”