Cuadrilla has today issued the following statement:
“Cuadrilla is pleased to announce that the Balcombe exploration drilling operations have been successfully completed. We have commenced the removal of our drilling equipment from the site and expect to have removed all equipment by 28th September.
Onsite operations involved the drilling of a vertical exploration well to a depth of 2720ft, collecting 294ft of rock samples (“core”) on the way. We also carried out a set of advanced petrophysical logs which provide valuable data about the characteristics of the underground rock and the fluids contained in those rocks.
As per UK requirements, cores from the vertical well have already been divided between Cuadrilla and the British Geological Survey, who maintain a record of all UK drilling.
In addition to the vertical well a horizontal well was drilled through the middle Kimmeridge Micrite which is a band of limestone rock within the Kimmeridge Clay Formation. A total distance of some 1700ft of horizontal drilling was achieved, drilling in a direction of just south of due west under the Balcombe estate. Using geo-steering technology, the entire 1700ft was successfully drilled within the target limestone.
Along with the operational drilling success achieved at Balcombe the well also confirmed the presence of hydrocarbons. Whilst further testing will be required to determine flow rates, Andrew Quarles, Cuadrilla’s Exploration Director said that “the well was a success and we are very encouraged by the findings so far.”
Francis Egan, Cuadrilla CEO, said: “The well is now closed off for the coming months as Cuadrilla applies for planning permission to come back and test flow rates. We appreciate that the Balcombe community has had to bear the strain of protest, as have our on-site and support team and contractors. We commend West Sussex County Council and police for both facilitating peaceful protest and preserving order.”