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Shale-gas drilling comes to Liverpool

Drilling scheduled to start next week at Banks shale-gas operation

Cuadrilla Resources has begun relocating drilling equipment from its Grange Hall site in Lancashire, UK, to the Banks shale-gas operation near Liverpool, with drilling scheduled to start next week.

Cuadrilla won’t, however, be carrying out hydraulic fracturing (fracking) on the site just yet. The UK company voluntarily suspended its fracking operations in Lancashire in May following two earthquakes in northwest England earlier this year.

The British Geological Survey (BGS) launched an investigation after a 2.3 magnitude tremor hit the Fylde coast, in northwest England, on 1 April. The earthquake was followed by a similar one, measuring 1.5 on the Richter scale, on 27 May.

The BGS said the epicentre of the second tremor was within 2 km of one of Cuadrilla’s shale-gas drilling sites and issued a statement claiming fracking could “possibly produce earthquakes”. The results of the investigation are likely to be released in mid-September, after they have been reviewed by the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Cuadrilla reckons there could be trillions of cubic feet (cf) of shale gas in the Bowland Shale basin. If such huge volumes are confirmed, this large new supply source would ease supply security concerns and prices. The UK’s existing, proved conventional reserves stand at 9 trillion cf, but are in steady decline, according to Cedigaz.

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