Lancashire Fracking Tentacles Spread From Aberdeen To Great Yarmouth
This week’s demos outside ARR Craib and RTH-Lubbers in Aberdeen, two companies which have been supplying the Cuadrilla Resources fracking site at Preston New Road in Lancashire, highlight the national nature of the fracking threat. Just because a fracking site is in Lancashire, Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire or Surrey does not mean that that impacts will be limited to the region in question. Thousands of tons of dangerous frack sand and chemicals are needed for each site (and have to come from somewhere), and the millions of gallons of fracking waste produced by a site also have to be moved by road (and be dumped somewhere).
The large network of support sites and transport routes needed to facilitate a particular fracking site usually spreads across most of the UK. The details will vary with the site in question and particularly with the fracking company involved, which will have different preferred suppliers, but everything used has to come from and go to somewhere. In many cases there are only a limited number of suppliers available or they are heavily concentrated in a few places, . For instance when it comes to oil & gas industry equipment suppliers are heavily concentrated in the North Sea hubs of Aberdeen and Great Yarmouth. In the case of fracking company Cuadrilla Resources site at Preston New Road in Lancashire, the network of support site and routes used by the up to 20,000 fracking trucks needed is already known or can be easily guessed.
As we have seen a lot of equipment and supplies are coming from Aberdeen or Great Yarmouth but most of Cuadrilla’s hydraulic fracturing equipment is stored at the PR Marriott Drilling yard at Danesmoor near Chester. The thousands of tons of frack sand needed for each Lancashire fracking site are likely to be supplied by Sibelco (probably from quarries in Cheshire). Where the vast quantities of fracking waste, millions of gallons per well, will dumped is not quite as clear, but the Knostrop sewerage treatment plant in Leeds is one possibility. For more details of the support sites and transport routes see our Resist Lancashire Fracking page or Lancashire Fracking Tests A3 Factsheet.
Cuadrilla’s original plans called for the drilling and hydraulically fracturing 4 horizontal wells at the Preston New Road site. After site construction had dragged on into its sixth month due to the level of protests outside the site, Cuadrilla quietly scaled back its initial plans from 4 wells to just 2, with a new prediction that it would have fracked the wells and be flowing gas by early 2018. Now with the first well only just finished and daily protests outside the site continuing Cuadrilla is now saying that it will be ready to begin hydraulic fracturing of the 2 wells in the second half of 2018. Continued resistance is likely to delay the project further, and time is money.
Meanwhile Cuadrilla’s second planned test site at Roseacre Wood has not even got past the planning stage, with a new planning inquiry starting today. Roseacre is much more typical of the location fracking sites would need to be positioned in a production scenario, where thousands of wells coat a region drilled at a density of 8 wells per square mile. Unlike Preston New Road, which is on an A-road close to a motorway junction, access to Roseacre involved pushing tens of thousands of fracking trucks down small country lanes, which is the main focus of this inquiry. Of course the planning system firmly focuses on the minutiae of individual sites, rather than the question of what these individuals tests are leading to, on which local communities are not even consulted.
These sites (Preston New Rd and Roseacre) in Lancashire are Cuadrilla’s flagship fracking test project, and are the most advanced fracking tests in the UK currently planned. They involve drilling and hydraulically fracturing multiple shale gas wells. They involve up to 20,000 vehicle movements in and out of the each 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.