Natural Gas

Energy and Climate Change written question – answered on 13th October 2011.

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Photo of Huw Irranca-Davies Huw Irranca-Davies Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the maximum depth of drilling operations for shale gas is in the UK; and at what depths he expects hydraulic fracturing to take place.

Photo of Charles Hendry Charles Hendry The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change

Drilling depths for shale gas will be specific to the drilling location. However shale gas exploration drilling is only taking place in a small number of locations within the UK at present. The most active drilling area and the only one where hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for shale gas has been carried out is at Cuadrilla's site near Blackpool. Two exploration wells have been drilled, the deepest to a depth of 10,775 feet, and a further well is currently being drilled. Fracking has only taken place at one site—at depths of between 6,550 and 8,823 feet. Again, fracking depths will be dependent on the well location and the depth and size of any shale seam encountered.

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