Cuadrilla’s Licence Area PEDL165
Well Services Director Eric Vaughan has again confirmed in the June 2015 issue
of “In Focus” magazine Cuadrilla’s intention, if they moved ahead to full
production phase, to aim for between 80 and 100 wellpads in their licence area.
hundred well pad scenario, with forty wells per pad, has been repeatedly used
to promote the supposed economic benefits of fracking, as in the
Cuadrilla-sponsored report for the Institute of Directors report “Getting Shale
Gas Working” (May 2013) and the UKOOG industry-commissioned Ernst and Young
report “Getting Ready For Shale Gas” in April 2014. These reports are the basis
for the push by the Cuadrilla and Centrica sponsored “North West Energy Task
Force” to promote the idea that Lancashire and
the Fylde in particular will benefit from shale development. This is clearly
designed to influence the councillors who will later this month face decision
on two Cuadrilla applications. Whilst the councillors may not in our view take
any such hypothetical future full-scale production scenario into account in coming
to a decision on a single exploratory site, it is unavoidable that the millions
being spent by Cuadrilla on promotion will have some effect.
important therefore for the consequences of this ambition to be understood.
find here an
illustrative map which demonstrates the potential density of wellpads across
the licence area. We have excluded urban areas which we consider are not
possible fracking sites. This reduces the square kilometers available for
wellpad siting by around one sixth, to leave around 1000 sq km. 100 wellpads
would mean each wellpad accessing about 10 sq km of the underlying shale. In
other words the wellpads would have to be spaced not more than around 3km
apart. The illustrative siting is based on this fact.
important to recognise also that Cuadrilla have repeatedly asserted that they
could potentially drill up to 40 horizontal wells from each wellpad, using up
to a dozen vertical wellbores from which the multiple horizontal wells, at
different levels and in different directions, would originate. Cuadrilla also
state in their Preston New Road
application they expect a horizontal well to possibly extend up to 2 km from
effectively means for this ambition to be achieved almost the entire surface of
rural Fylde would be fracked under.
energy security would such a plan bring?
twenty or thirty years, the estimated total gas output of an individual well is
known as an Estimated Ultimately Recovery EUR figure. In the US there are
varying estimates of average EUR, industry estimates tend to be higher and
inflated, government estimates lower. The US Geological Survey give an estimate
of all shale wells of around 1.1 billion cubic feet of gas. Cuadrilla’s report
for the Institute
of Directors used
selected higher industry estimates from particular gasfields, stating average
EUR of over 3bcf. If however we use the official US Energy Information
Administration 2013 figures from all US fields these show a raw average
of 1.8bcf for EUR.
4,000 wells would therefore over twenty or thirty years produce about 7.2
trillion cubic feet of gas. Given that the current UK
demand for gas is something over 3 tcf, 4,000 wells could therefore produce
only about 2 years and four months of gas - about 7.5% of the UK demand for
gas over thirty years. (4 wells at Preston
New Road if progressed to production would supply
over thirty years only about one day’s worth of the UK’s gas need.)
There is a serious question to be asked here.
Should the whole of the rural
Fylde suffer fracking for such a meagre reward which would not even begin to answer
perceived energy security issues?
* * *
President of the
International Gas Union, Jerome Ferrier, World Gas Conference in Paris, June 2015 -
“The future of gas does not depend
on shale gas - there is enough conventional gas [to meet demand] for more than