January 18, 2019

Shale gas fracking suspended in United Kingdom following an natural disaster

28 October 2018, 04:53 | Edward Lowe

Image Cuadrilla fracking site in Preston New Road Little Plumpton Lancashire

Cuadrilla fracking site in Preston New Road Little Plumpton Lancashire

It is Cuadrilla that resumed hydraulic fracturing operations in the United Kingdom earlier this month-at the Preston New Road shale gas exploration site in Lancashire in northwest England amid protests by campaigners and local residents.

If the monitoring devices do not register any further tremors, the Lancashire fracking project will resume on Sunday.

In a statement, Cuadrilla's spokesperson confirmed: "Cuadrilla was hydraulically fracturing the shale rock adjacent to a horizontal well at the time and the seismicity is classed as a red event in line with the traffic light monitoring system regulated by the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA)".

Drilling for shale gas at Preston New Road, Little Plumpton, started on 15 October after a legal challenge failed.

The British Geological Survey (BGS) records seismicity to one decimal place and therefore have recorded the event as 0.8ML (local magnitude).

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However the exploration company said "micro seismic" events like this do not cause any damage and can not be felt at ground level.

Any tremor measuring 0.5 or above means fracking must be temporarily stopped while tests are carried out.

The company said the activity did not reach the "red" level on the Oil and Gas Authority's warning system.

After experiencing disruption from bad weather and protests, work began at the site on 15 October.

All relevant regulators had been informed, she said.

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On Friday, a Cuadrilla spokesman said: "Micro seismic events such as these result in tiny movements that are way below anything that would be felt at surface, much less cause any harm or damage".

Friends of the Earth campaigner Rose Dickinson said fracking poses risks to the environment and the latest tremor was "deeply concerning". The quake occurred just 11 days after Lancashire fracking got the go ahead.

However, the firm says today's incident does not quote as a "red event" because the firm was not pumping fracturing liquid at the time.

Protesters chained themselves to equipment at the site last week and others took to Twitter to to speak-out against fracking.

'It's been caused by the hydraulic fracking, ' he said.

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It involves pumping water, chemicals and usually sand underground at high pressure to fracture shale - hence the name - and release the gas trapped within to be collected back at the surface.

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