Some of the most frequent and reoccurring questions about Cuadrilla and our operations have been collated for this webpage. We hope that you find the information included below useful.We will be periodically updating this page as new enquiries come up.
Cuadrilla Resources is a British company based in Bamber Bridge near Preston in Lancashire. It is privately owned between Australian company AJ Lucas (48%), American private equity company Riverstone Holdings and current and former Cuadrilla employees (7%).
Cuadrilla holds licences in the North of England in Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Yorkshire and in the South East of England in Surrey and West Sussex. In the past, the company has held licences across Europe which have been sold or released.
You cannot currently buy shares in Cuadrilla. Cuadrilla Resources is a privately owned company.
Fracking is the process of extracting natural gas from rock formations by injecting fluid at high pressures to release the gas. The wells which are drilled vertically, and subsequently horizontally, are drilled, cased and cemented. Fracking fluid is then pumped at high pressure to create micro-fractures in the rock to release the gas. The fracking fluid is a combination of: water; proppant (sand) which is used to keep the fractures in the shale open; and friction reducer, polyacrylamide, which is non-toxic and non-hazardous and approved for use by the Environment Agency.
There are no plans to use previously fractured wells to store nuclear waste. In the case of our Preston New Road exploration site, once operations have been completed, the well pad and associated surface works will either be taken on into production, subject to further planning and other consents and EIA, or decommissioned and restored to its current agricultural use in accordance with planning approvals.
We are not planning to use the perforating technique at the Preston New Road site. Instead, the wells will be completed with coiled tubing manipulated frac sleeves. This means that the access to the formation is achieved by opening ports that are installed in the casing when it is cemented in the ground. The ports are opened using coiled tubing, which is a flexible pipe that is run into the well.
The Preston New Road site and site access, extends to approximately 2.65 hectares (ha) and are located within a parcel of agricultural land of around 7.2 ha. Approximately 1.55ha of the site is a compacted crushed stone surfaced well pad from which the drilling, hydraulic fracturing and flow testing activities will be undertaken.
The remainder of the site consists of surface water collection ditches, landscaped bunds (from topsoil and subsoil excavated during construction of the well pad), fencing and the land required for the extended flow test pipeline and connection. It is the 1.55 ha well pad which is approximately the size of a rugby pitch.
Flaring only takes place during the initial flow test stage. Cuadrilla uses an enclosed flare which conceals the flare flame.
For the regulation of flaring, see the Department for Energy and Climate Change’s Onshore oil and gas exploration in the UK: regulation and best practice which is available at here.
Even though the risk is very low, our incident management plan will allow Cuadrilla and the emergency services to respond to any emergency incident at the site. Unfortunately, we are unable to publish this, however we can confirm that the incident management plan is tested periodically and all personnel and visitors to the site are made fully aware of the emergency procedures.
We are regulated by the Oil and Gas Authority, Environment Agency and Health and Safety Executive, with others such as the British Geological Survey monitoring us too.
For information about the industry and the regulatory framework, please visit the United Kingdom Onshore Oil and Gas website www.ukoog.org.uk.
There are a number of safeguards in place to ensure that our operations do not cause damage or harm to local residents or property. For example, during fracturing operations, seismic activity around the site is monitored. A traffic light system determines whether the injection of water is safe to proceed:
Operations stop for a period of 18 hours if a tremor of local magnitude (ML) 0.5 or greater is detected. This level is well below what could potentially cause any damage at the surface and this pause allows any further seismicity to be limited.
Furthermore, other extractive industries – notably quarrying and deep geothermal – are not subject to the same restrictions as shale gas when it comes to induced seismicity and ground vibration. Given that we halt hydraulic fracturing activities at 0.5 ML, we are confident that our operations will not result in a level of seismicity that would be of a significant enough magnitude to cause damage.
Cuadrilla was the first operator to work within the micro-seismic Traffic Light System (TLS), regulated by the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) and as a result have a unique data set of information and operating experience.
It is no secret that we asked the OGA to review the TLS in December 2018 following hydraulic fracturing operations and that remains a high priority for us and other UK shale operators. The upper operating limit, set at just 0.5 on the Richter scale, was purposefully positioned at an extremely conservative level, far below anything that can be felt at surface, much less cause any damage to people or property. The Government was very clear at the time about the intention to review this limit as operational experience and data became available.
We have said many times that the work at Preston New Road induced micro seismicity. Any movement underground is called an earthquake but as the British Geological Survey (BGS) says itself, those events detected at Preston New Road were far below anything they would normally be able to detect.
On the BGS website they note that: “A dense network of temporary seismic sensors around Blackpool allows us to detect much smaller earthquakes than we are typically able to do in other parts of the UK. The BGS permanent network of sensors across the UK is usually able to detect most earthquakes with magnitudes of 2.0 ML or above anywhere in the UK, though this may vary from place to place and also at different times. All of the events detected near Preston New Road have magnitudes that are far below our normal detection threshold.”
The University of Liverpool released a report in 2018 to help put the low-level threshold of the Traffic Light System into context. The researchers indicated that vibrations experienced during everyday life are equivalent, or exceed, those that may occur from induced seismicity during hydraulic fracturing operations. You can view the paper here.
Petroleum Exploration and Development Licenses (PEDLs) are granted to oil and gas companies, like Cuadrilla, who then apply for planning permission to pursue hydraulic fracturing at sites within the identified PEDL. The Oil and Gas Authority has published a map of these PEDLs which can be found here.
The area you are referring to falls under PEDL 165 license area, which covers much of Lancashire and would therefore show up on a search for any property within this area. We are at present focused on our Preston New Road site and the status of all of our existing sites can be found here.
Exploration, appraisal, production and restoration:
In 2017, we launched an ePortal, which provides data on our Preston New Road operations. Cuadrilla’s ePortal can be viewed here. Data relating to noise, air quality, water and traffic information can be found in the monthly reports section.
Questions on environmental protection were addressed in detail during the planning process undertaken by the County Council, the Planning Inspectorate and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, and also during the Environment Agency’s environmental permitting process.
More information on issues relating to environmental protection can be found in our Environmental Statement, which is available here.
On health risks, Public Health England published a comprehensive study on shale gas operations in 2014, concluding that: “An assessment of the currently available evidence indicates that the potential risks to public health from exposure to the emissions associated with shale gas extraction will be low if the operations are properly run and regulated”, see here.
The use of natural gas extracted from shale rock has significant potential to further reduce the UK’s overall CO2 emissions. By replacing liquefied natural gas imports, and continuing to decrease reliance on coal, with shale gas produced onshore we can help to reduce the UK’s carbon footprint and provide a cost-effective source of energy for our homes, businesses and industry.
The Committee on Climate Change recently published a report which recognises that we will continue to be using significant quantities of natural gas in the UK out to 2050 and beyond in conjunction with Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology and in producing hydrogen as an alternative energy for the future.
All concerned about addressing climate change should accept that using natural gas extracted here in the UK, such as the 1,300 trillion cubic feet beneath our feet in the Bowland Shale, is environmentally far more responsible than importing gas from thousands of miles away. The committee’s report highlights some tough proposals if we are to become net zero by 2050, but it is also clear that our demand for gas will remain and could be 86% imported gas by then if we don’t establish our own source.
There is a negligible risk of water used in hydraulic fracturing reaching local water supplies as fracking takes place at depths of between 2,100 and 2,300 metres, therefore fractures cannot and do not extend the thousands of metres upwards that would be necessary to pollute fresh water aquifers.
Furthermore, groundwater and surface water are tested on a monthly basis in order to identify any chemical imbalances, the results from which are uploaded to our e-Portal. The results are measured against the baseline data that was collected for 12 months prior to the commencement of our hydraulic fracturing operations.
The preferred make-up option for fracking fluid used as part of the hydraulic fracturing process consists of the following:
The overall composition of our fracking fluid is 99.95% water and sand and less than 0.05% friction reducer. Our fracking fluid has been assessed and approved for usage in our operations by the Environment Agency.
The preferred option for the fluid we use in hydraulic fracturing will remain ‘slickwater’, which is 99.05% sand and water with only 0.05% of a friction reducer (polyacrylamide – commonly found in things like contact lenses). However, the option to use gelling agents will give us more flexibility during the hydraulic fracturing to help transport the proppant (sand) along the length of the fractures.
With regards to how we will treat waste water, flowback fluid will be separated out into solids, water, condensate and gases, which will then be stored temporarily on site and removed to an appropriate water treatment facility permitted by the Environment Agency.
Any flowback fluid not re-used will be taken by tanker to an Environment Agency approved treatment facility for treatment.
Information relating to traffic management can be found within our Traffic Management Plan, which is available here. The use of the routes from the M55 junction 4 and from the M55 junction 3 are the only routes proposed for HGVs during all phases of the project.
You may also find our ePortal of interest which details key data in relation to traffic movements.
We would recommend that you visit our website https://cuadrillaresources.com/ where you will find a wealth of information related to the benefits of shale gas, our work in the community and our commitment to ‘Putting Lancashire First’. You may also find the United Kingdom Onshore Oil and Gas (UKOOG) website useful http://www.ukoog.org.uk. This provides general information about the benefits of Onshore Oil and Gas.
Cuadrilla has always respected the right to peaceful and lawful protest, however we continue to condemn unlawful, irresponsible and reckless behaviour that impacts law abiding local residents and businesses.
However, Cuadrilla is committed to working closely with Lancashire Police to reduce anti-social behaviour.
We can confirm that Cuadrilla has extensive third-party liability and market leading well control policies in place that have been provided to and appraised by both the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Oil and Gas Authority to ensure it is adequate for our operations.
With regards to house prices, a study which was funded by the industry and conducted by global real estate company, Jones Lang LaSalle, found that the exploration and development of onshore gas has had “no material impact on local prices”. The research uses properties within a three mile radius of Cuadrilla’s Elswick and Preese Hall sites in Lancashire as case studies, and found that the property market near the two sites have outperformed those in the North West and Lancashire as a whole over the 1995-2014 period. The full report can be found here.
If you are interested in becoming a supplier for Cuadrilla, you are more than welcome to sign up to our supply chain portal at: www.shalegaslancashire.co.uk.
Cuadrilla has previously conducted a small number of tours for local people. Site visits during certain stages of operations are a little more challenging as the site will be busy and we’ll be hosting multiple contractors and regulators at this time. However, we are considering how best to give people in the local community the opportunity to see what’s going on during our work through the use of streaming video and other tools.
The Community Benefit Fund is paid to the local community when the drilling of a new well for hydraulic fracturing commences. Payments are currently split between the Community Foundation for Lancashire, which distributes money to community projects local to the Preston New Road shale gas exploration site, and residents living closest to the site.
The residents’ share has been divided between all households within one and a half kilometres of the site, a decision that was taken from the result of a Community Consultation Survey which took place between 18th August and 15th September 2017. At this time, 79% of survey respondents selected option B as their preferred option, which states that households located within 1km of the centre of the site would receive an equal share of 60% of the fund and households located between 1km and 1.5km of the centre of the site would receive an equal share of 40% of the fund.
There was no referendum on hydraulic fracturing in the county. A majority of the councillors on the Development Control Committee voted against the recommendations of the local authority’s planning officers and voted down the Preston New Road application. This was reversed by the then communities secretary, Sajid Javid, on appeal, which is common for all sorts of developments as part of the planning process. Lancashire County Council did have a vote before Christmas in 2018 which resulted in a show of support for the high regulatory standards surrounding our site.
We are proceeding with exploration operations at Preston New Road as we have secured planning consent for these activities as well as other regulatory approvals. Whilst opposition to shale gas operations does exist, in common with many land use proposals, we have also received significant support from many people within the County. Like us, they see the potential for our industry to boost Lancashire’s economy and create opportunities for local people.