Cuadrilla Begins Drilling at Balcombe, England

Unconventional oil and gas firm Cuadrilla Resources began exploration drilling for oil at its Balcombe site in West Sussex, England, Friday morning (UK time) amid protests from members of the local community and professional anti-fracking activists.

A spokesman for the firm confirmed that a 3,000-foot deep, six-inch wide well is being drilled by a 72-foot land rig. Cuadrilla expects to drill to take only a few weeks but it has permission to drill from West Sussex County Council until September 28.

Although no hydraulic fracturing will take place during the current drill, Rigzone understand that Cuadrilla will use it to look at the potential to drill a 2,500-foot horizontal hole in the future. However, the company's plans for a development at Balcombe will depend on how much oil is detected during the current drill, according to the spokesman.

Cuadrilla's main focus remains the Bowland shale in Lancashire, northwest England, where the British Geological Survey believes there is up to 300 trillion cubic feet of gas resources.

In late July, Cuadrilla arranged two drop-in sessions for residents near sites where it plans to drill for shale gas.


A former engineer, Jon is an award-winning editor who has covered the technology, engineering and energy sectors since the mid-1990s. Email Jon at


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