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Cuadrilla Stepping Up UK Bowland Basin Activity

Cuadrilla Resources Ltd. plans to hydraulically fracture (frack) and test the shale at its exploration well at Grange Hill in the UK's Bowland Basin and intends to drill, frack and test gas flows at up to six new temporary well sites in the Borough of Fylde, in Lancashire, England, the company said Friday.

"The purpose of all our ongoing exploratory work is to demonstrate that natural gas can be produced from the shale in commercial quantities," said Chief Executive Francis Egan. "By sharing our plans for the exploratory program, we hope that people will have an understanding of what we plan to do and why. The British Geological Survey last week confirmed the exciting scale of Lancashire's gas resource, and we look forward to working closely with local communities and regulators as our exploration work progresses."

The latest research of the Bowland-Hodder Shale of northern England by the British Geological Survey showed that it has between 822 and 2,281 Tcf of gas in place (see Shale Daily, June 28) The study is the first to integrate all existing seismic data, geological analyses and well samples from the shale.

Before it can drill/frack, the Cuadrilla must receive consent from regulators. A decision on drilling and testing at the company's Anna's Road site will be deferred until later, the company said. Cuadrilla hired consultancy Arup to undertake environmental impact assessments for each application to drill, frack and flow-test. Locations of new sites and the order in which they are to be drilled will be determined over the coming months, Cuadrilla said.

The company said it will also seek to drill up to three further vertical exploration wells that will not be fracked. "They will allow additional rock samples to be taken and further improve knowledge of the subsurface geology; their locations will be discussed with the community before they are finalized," it said.

A further stage in determining how much of the natural gas reserves can be recovered from the shale would be to test gas flow from some of the fracked exploration wells over an extended period, Cuadrilla said.

"According to a recent report by the Institute of Directors, natural gas from Lancashire could lead to thousands of new jobs, higher tax revenues and lower emissions," Egan said. "We remain at the exploration phase of assessing the possibility, and together with our new partners at Centrica Energy [see Shale Daily, June 14], we are committed to doing this transparently, safely and sensibly."

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