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Cuadrilla seeks changes to upcoming well

OGAs agree hydraulic fracture plan for second well at Preston New Road site

UK shale gas explorer Cuadrilla Resources is seeking more time to conduct hydraulic fracturing operations in northern England after it landed permission for a second well.

The Oil & Gas Authority (OGA) said on Monday that it has agreed the fracking plan for the PNR2 well at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site.

The permit is part of the OGA’s approval of a well completion proposal for the PNR2 well, including fracking operations.

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The OGA has also approved a three-year extended well test, which includes a one-year consent for the flaring of gas, as described in plans put forward by Cuadrilla.

Cuadrilla is planning to return to fracking and flow testing of natural gas at its flagship Lancashire site, aiming to remobilise fracking and testing equipment in the third quarter.

“We have learnt a lot during the hydraulic fracture programme for the PNR-1z horizontal in 2018 and this expertise forms the basis for the new hydraulic fracture plan for our second horizontal well, PNR2,” chief executive Francis Egan previously said.

The company, however, is seeking a “minor variation to one of the conditions of its planning permission in Preston New Road”, it said on Monday.

Under previous plans, Cuadrilla was aiming to complete the work programme by the end of November this year. However, the company requested an extension on this timeline, because it has not been drilling the whole time.

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“The condition requires all drilling and hydraulic fracturing operations to be completed within a period of 30 months from the date of commencement of the drilling of the first well. This would in effect require drilling and hydraulic fracturing to conclude by the end of November 2019.

"By the end of November 2019 we are in fact likely to have spent no more than 21 months in total drilling or fracturing on site since the commencement of drilling well PNR1,” Egan said.

“Our proposed variation would seek to allow additional time for drilling and hydraulic fracturing operations but not to change either the existing approved work scope to drill and hydraulically fracture up to four wells at PNR or the requirement for the site to be decommissioned and restored by April 2023,” he said.

The new fracking plan will operate in line with the existing traffic light system but one of the key differences will be a more viscous fracturing fluid, which is expected to improve operational performance.

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