Cuadrilla completes UK’s first horizontal shale gas well

Cuadrilla has completed drilling Britain’s first horizontal shale gas well at its exploration site at Preston New Road in Lancashire.

Cuadrilla's fracking operation in Lancashire
Cuadrilla’s fracking operation in Lancashire

The horizontal well was drilled through the Lower Bowland shale at a depth of approximately 2,700m below ground and extends laterally for 800m through the shale gas reservoir.

The company said work will start on drilling the second horizontal well through the Upper Bowland shale, with planning consent granted to drill a total of up to four similar wells on the site.

Cuadrilla said it would soon apply for consent to fracture the first horizontal well, adding that it will be in a position to hydraulically fracture horizontal wells one and two in the third quarter of 2018.

Earlier analysis from core and other test data taken from Cuadrilla’s vertical pilot well drilled through the Upper and Lower Bowland shale rock – along with data recovered and analysed from Cuadrilla’s three previous Lancashire shale exploration wells – informed the decision on where best to drill the initial horizontal wells in order to find gas. This analysis is also said to have confirmed that the Upper and Lower Bowland shale rock formation has low overall clay content and suited to hydraulic fracturing.

Francis Egan, CEO of Cuadrilla, said: “Our completion of the UK’s first ever horizontal shale gas well is a major milestone towards getting Lancashire gas flowing into Lancashire homes as we lead the way on UK exploration.

“From the data we have amassed so far we are optimistic that, after fracturing the shale rock, natural gas will flow into this horizontal well in commercially viable quantities demonstrating that the UK’s huge shale gas resources can be safely produced and contribute to improving the UK’s energy security.”

Following hydraulic fracturing of the first two horizontal wells Cuadrilla will run an initial flow test of both wells for around six months with plans to then eventually connect those wells to the local gas grid network in 2019.