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Monday, May 27th, 2024
British Drilling and Freezing Company Limited
Private Road No 3.
Colwick Industrial Estate
Nottingham, NG4 2BB
+44 (0)115 9611300
+44 (0)115 9617338


Activities commenced in 1925 under the 'Foraky' name as a branch of 'Foraky S.A.' of Brussels, with the Nottingham base opening in 1947. The choice of location at the geographical centre of the coalfields proved sound, particularly as development of the Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire coalfields received impetus following nationalisation in 1947. This resulted in long term drilling and coring contracts for the coal industry.

A consultancy contract in North America, awarded for the application of ground freezing to enlarge a metro tunnel in Montreal in 1959, was the forerunner to a series of similar contracts for shaft freezing in Saskatchewan and Louisiana, including the greatest depth at the time of over 600m.

Later 'firsts' included:

  • Construction of a frozen surface drift in Yorkshire in 1965
  • Use of liquid nitrogen for ground freezing in 1965
  • Ground freezing for large diameter (40m) excavations in 1966
  • Completion of the deepest continuously cored borehole (1920m) in 1968 for the Institute of Geological Sciences
  • An entry in the Guinness Book of Records in 1975 for the Canvey Island works, the P.C.A. Shaft in Saskatchewan, and pioneering work with liquid nitrogen in place of brine

In 1964 the National Coal Board confirmed its faith in the Company by employing it to commission and operate a purpose-bought rig for the emergency rescue of trapped miners.

Following an extensive programme of exploration drilling and coring for the NCB the company was awarded ground freezing subcontracts for the Selby Project. In all, ground freezing was undertaken at the sites of 10 shafts, and 2 drifts between 1977 and 1981.

In 1972 Foraky bought Boldon Drilling Limited, a drilling and civil engineering company based in Boldon, Tyne and Wear which, at that time, was active in salt exploration and production, drilling holes for salt solution mining. Boldon had been drilling wells in the UK as long ago as 1896.

In 1977 Foraky bought the shallow drilling activity of Boyles Brothers (BB Drilling Ltd.) a name which survives now as a division of BDF. Continuous drilling and coring took place with more than forty rigs working in coal and salt exploration.

Work on a sub-surface freeze for two shafts at Asfordby on the North East Leicestershire Project commenced in 1985.

In 1989 a MBO took place and the company's name was changed to British Drilling and Freezing Company Limited (BDF).

In January 1988 the Company was awarded a major contract by BP Exploration and Production for the development drilling and workover services at their Wytch Farm, Dorset, oilfield. Two rigs remain under contract there to this day.

British Drilling and Freezing Company Limited now enjoys over 84 years experience to back up it's over 60 years of corporate life which, with experienced loyal staff, assures its continuing survival.

Foraky site offices
1950s Freeze Shed
Duchess of Kent visits Selby
Off-shore Rig