FOUR of Singleton’s five parish councillors were treated to a tour of the gas-drilling rig in Grange Road on Thursday, 10th February 2011 and a chat about exploration issues which have been raised locally, nationally, and internationally.
We were particularly keen to raise our residents’ fears, and came away much reassured, as the fracturing or ‘fracking’ process being used in the parish is different to that used in the States. The 350m-year-old shale is much deeper – two miles underground – and covered by deeper layers of rock than in the States.
Cuadrilla, the private company exploring the Fylde’s shale gas reserves, has spent $50 million on buying its own rig and equipment which it is moving around various exploration sites. Exploring Preesall has cost Cuadrilla £10 million, and costs are equally high at Grange Road, where Cuadrilla spends around £50,000 a day paying just for routine suppliers.
We were particularly interested by Cuadrilla’s partners’ wish to use shale gas merely to generate electricity, as at the long-established unit at Elswick. Partners said trying to pipe gas into the national gas grid was likely to be far too expensive, in view of the land and rights costs involved, whereas generating electricity was much more cost-effective and controllable.
We will continue our regular contact with Cuadrilla’s partners and relevant outside agencies to keep abreast of this issue and will report back to residents when we know more. We’re hoping to produce a special newsletter which will cover the topic more thoroughly.