Published: Mon, October 29, 2018
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Cuadrilla pauses fracking at United Kingdom site after tremor

Cuadrilla pauses fracking at United Kingdom site after tremor

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

Operations have been suspended at the UK's only active shale gas fracking site following an natural disaster - just 11 days after it was given the go ahead.

Energy firm Cuadrilla started drilling for shale gas last week, but the company called their second halt to proceedings in a week due to the "micro seismic event".

It is the largest tremor at the Preston New Road, Little Plumpton, site since fracking began this month.

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

"Cuadrilla was hydraulicaly fracturing the shale rock adjacent to the 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.Operations hav now paused for the next 18 hours during which seismicity levels will continue to be measured".

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"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".

"All the relevant regulators were informed without delay and we have verified that the well integrity is intact", Cuadrilla said.

Fracking was banned in 2011 after Cuadrilla caused two earthquakes of up to 2.3 magnitude at another site in Lancashire.

The UK's Energy Minister Claire Perry had a private meeting with oil and gas firms in May, months before fracking resumed in the UK earlier this month for the first time in seven years, but she failed to record that meeting in a transparency register, The Guardian reported on Friday.

Activity at the Preston New Road site, which lies just a few miles from the Lancashire seaside resort, has prompted 17 earthquakes since 15th October, according to the British Geological Survey. Oliver Eden, a minister at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said this week: "There are no plans to make changes to the traffic light system for monitoring induced seismicity". Cuadrilla is planning to frack two wells at its Lancashire site, and then it aims to test to see if the gas flow is commercially viable.

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