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Fracking firm plans gas pressure tests

Cuadrilla hope to complete work at Becconsall well

The shale gas rig at Banks

Cuadrilla have announced plans to monitor gas pressure at the Becconsall well – but plan to return the site to its former use after a year.  

The energy company are planning to apply for an extension to their current planning permission, which runs out on March 28, in order to allow time to carry out measurement of the pressure of the gas in the shale rock at its Becconsall well, near Banks.

The well will not be hydraulically fractured, however.

Following the pressure measurement programme, it is planned that the well will be sealed and the site returned to its former condition next year.

Cuadrilla’s technical director, Andrew Quarles, said: “A week’s work at the site is required, during which a small rig will install pressure gauges and isolate a section of the well for measurement.

“The rig will then be removed and the gauges will be left in place, recording pressure for approximately 12 months. We then plan to seal and return the site to its former condition.”

The planning application for the work will be submitted to Lancashire County Council.

Helen Rimmer, from Friends of the Earth said: “We won’t know for sure what these proposals will mean until we see the full planning application.

“The proposed scale of production that Cuadrilla has proposed nationwide is important and means that there is the possibility of 4000 wells across the country, including West Lancashire.

“The long-term environmental impact of the works and drilling already completed by Cuadrilla are yet to be discovered.

“It’s important  the right management and monitoring systems are in place.

“The news that the site will not be hydraulically fractured is important but Cuadrilla announced they were going to close the Greaves Hall site and this still has not been done.”

John Powney, from Ribble Estuary Against Fracking, said: “We don’t believe that this site will be closed.

“We just don't understand why Cuadrilla would do this work and invest so much in the site just for it to close a few months later.

“It makes no sense and we will be opposing the planning application when it is submitted.”

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