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Lancashire-based onshore shale gas operator Cuadrilla has submitted plans to vary the type of hydraulic fracturing fluid it uses at its Preston New Road site.

The company, based in Bamber Bridge, Lancashire, has applied for a permit variation to the Environment Agency and the application with full details of the requested changes are open to view on the Agency’s Citizen Space online portal.

Nick Mace, Environment Manager at Cuadrilla, explained: “We have submitted an application for a permit variation to the Environment Agency which is open to the public who can view and comment on the application. We have varied the permit before and the public have been able to comment multiple times since the permit was granted in 2015. The process is no different this time and people can provide feedback if they would like to.

“The reason for the proposed variation is that we’d like to modify our fracturing fluid so that more sand can be carried into the shale rock with the water when we re-commence hydraulic fracturing operations at the Preston New Road site. To do this we propose to add some chemicals which have already been approved for use elsewhere in the UK by the Environment Agency. The fracturing fluid will remain non-hazardous to groundwater, as it must do under UK regulation, and additional additives we are proposing to use are commonly found in food, toiletries and other products used around the home. The full list of additives Cuadrilla has asked for permission to create the fluid can be found in the permit variation.”

Nick added: “People should be reassured that this proposed fluid composition is non-hazardous to groundwater and Preston New Road is the most intensely monitored oil and gas site in the world. Cuadrilla remains absolutely committed to unlocking the potential of shale gas in Lancashire in a safe and environmentally responsible way.”

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