Fracking Lancashire: New Drilling Phase Of Resistance Underway
As the blockade of a convoy of fracking equipment at Preston New Road in Lancashire enters its third day, fracking company Cuadrilla Resources have announced that they are beginning to try to bring a drilling rig onto the site. The convoy, which was stopped from entering the site on Tues, appears to contain base plates and weights consistent with those used to construct a large drilling rig. A new phase of the resistance to fracking in Lancashire is now beginning as Cuadrilla tries bring large amounts drilling equipment onto the site, and Lancashire communities try to make it as slow and costly for them as possible.
Another convoy sneaked onto the site at 4am this morning, but while the amount of equipment on site has increased major components of a drilling rig are so far absent. The vehicles in the convoy stopped on Tues were mostly pulled by tractor units from haulage companies in the Humber Estuary area, Alphatrans (Immingham), L & M Transport (Grimsby) and Austwick Haulage (Goole). The trailers they are pulling have licence plates from the Netherlands and shipping identification numbers. This combination strongly suggests that they were shipped in from the Netherlands via a port on the Humber Estuary.
Given that Cuadrilla’s drilling rig might well be out of action, and at this time appears fully erected in PR Marriott’s yard in Danesmoor, the fact that Cuadrilla have announce it is moving a rig onto the site suggested it might be using another drilling rig. The possibility exists that Cuadrilla are shipping in a rig from abroad, perhaps from KCA Deutag or Entrepose. If this is the case a large amount of additional equipment may be sitting in a port on the Humber Estuary right now. In any case this new phase will see Cuadrilla trying to bring is large quantities of equipment and supplies from at least as far afield as Aberdeen and Great Yarmouth.
Update: One of the haulage companies involved in this convoy, L & M Transport, has now pulled out and confirmed the major suppositions we have made from the previous evidence. It has said it was subcontracted by Alphatrans Ltd (Immingham) who were in turn “working for an overseas agent” and the trailers were “shipped unaccompanied into a uk port”. A big question remains over whether this was few isolated pieces of equipment or whether much more equipment, possibly a drilling rig is being brough in from abroad.
With construction of the Frack Pad at Preston New Road in Lancashire coming to a close (months behind schedule), attention is turning to the next phase of this fracking threat. Cuadrilla has begun trying to move equipment off the yard of its primary drilling contractor, PR Marriott, in Chesterfield.
Communities across the country are mobilising in response and there are now active blockades at both Preston New Road in Lancashire and PR Marriott (Cuadrilla’s primary drilling contractor) near Chesterfield, disrupting the movement for fracking trucks. Get down there if you can! If you can’t get to Preston New Road or PR Marriott, will fracking trucks be passing near you. In many cases fracking trucks which are disrupted from making the trip in one day are laying up somewhere en route. Where are they hiding?
The Preston New Road site is Cuadrilla’s flagship fracking test project, where they have planning permission (from central government) to drill and hydraulically fracture 4 shale gas wells. This would involve more than 20,000 vehicle movements in and out of the PNR site, as fracking trucks bring equipment and materials and dispose of waste, to and from support sites across the country. Take a look at our factsheet and find out what support sites could be near you.
Cuadrilla’s speculative business model means that they need good results from these test to get more investment, but that includes not just what they find under ground but the level of resistance they encounter. That is where communities across the country come in – by making Cuadrilla’s fracking plans as difficult, slow and expensive as possible!
Check out our factsheet about Cuadrilla’s plans, your community may be threatened with impacts (e.g. fracking waste being dumped or transported through your community) even if you live hundreds of miles from Lancashire.