Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

UK fracking firm Cuadrilla pauses drilling after tremor

Christopher Furlong via Getty Images               Protest camps remain at the Preston New Road fracking site in Lancashire Christopher Furlong via Getty Images Protest camps remain at the Preston New Road fracking site in Lancashire
Sandra Phillips | 29 October, 2018, 17:17

The British Geological Survey recorded a 0.8 magnitude quake in the region of the site at about 11.30am on Friday.

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".

Cuadrilla was hydraulically fracturing the shale rock adjacent to a well when the seismic activity was recorded, the spokesman said.

The quake, which took place 2km underground, was classed as a red event under the UK's fracking regulation traffic-light scheme and is the largest tremor at the Preston New Road, Little Plumpton, site since fracking began this month. Environmental activists failed in early October in Britain's High Court to keep fracking from proceeding in northwest England.

Cuadrilla was forced to abandon fracking at the site in 2011 after two tremors measuring 2.3 and 1.5 on the Richter scale, respectively. Fracking restarted on Saturday morning before a second tremor was detected.

Earlier this week, more than 300,000 people have signed a petition opposing the government's proposal to accelerate new fracking developments.

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.

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"This is deeply concerning for those living nearby and why the industry must be closely monitored".

Cuadrilla Resources has reported a second seismic incident this week at its site in northern England, where the United Kingdom shale gas explorer recently started hydraulic fracturing operations.

Cuadrilla said earlier this month it would spend at least three months fracking two horizontal wells and then test to see if the gas flow was commercially viable.

They stopped after 11.30am this morning after the tremor was detected on the grounds.

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

During the natural disaster and afterward, the plates or blocks of rock start moving, and they continue to move until they get stuck again.

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