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Energy secretary confirms one high volume hydraulic fracture in the UK

12th April 2014

The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change has written to the Conservative MP, Peter Lilley, confirming that only one well in the UK has used high volume hydraulic fracturing.

The letter follows correspondence between Mr Lilley and Balcombe resident, Louisa Delpy, about a debate on Channel 4 News on January 26th.

Ms Delpy wrote to Mr Lilley after the broadcast, querying his comment that: “We have already, although nobody seems to realise it, drilled 200 wells in this county which have required fracking. No problems.”

Mr Lilley forwarded Miss Delpy’s letter to the Secretary of State, Ed Davey. In reply, Mr Davey said the Department for Energy and Climate Change estimated at least 200 wells had been hydraulically fractured by “one of a variety of techniques”. However, Mr Davey added: “The volume of fluids used is in most cases relatively small, and high volume hydraulic fracturing operations, such as are required by shale gas extraction, have so far been performed at only one well, Preese Hall in Lancashire”. This was operated by Cuadrilla and was linked in 2011 with two earthquakes.

Mr Lilley also said on the broadcast “not a single person has been poisoned by contaminated ground water. Not a single building has been damaged by earthquakes”. But Vanessa Vine, of Britain and Ireland Frack Free, interviewed from Barton Moss, replied: “You are not speaking the truth, Sir”. She said the earthquakes in 2011 were caused by high volume hydraulic fracturing. The operation “cracked a house”, she said. “It had people waking up in the night. 80 people have reported damage from it.”

Mr Lilley referred to the Royal Society of Science and the Royal Academy of Engineering, which, he said, had stated “very emphatically that any problems of environment, safety and health can be satisfactorily managed in this country”.

Miss Delpy said she had actually asked Mr Lilley for details of which recommendations of the Royal Society’s report had actually been implemented. She plans to return to the correspondence to get that answer.

Peter LIlley letter

2 replies »

  1. Given the choice between believing Vanessa Vine and Peter Lilley and loath as I am to believe MPs, I would side with Peter. Why? Simples. She says the “earthquake” in Blackpool damaged 80 houses and it woke people up. Well there have been dozens of tremors of similar magnitude in New Ollerton and no is running around claiming their houses are damaged or the sky is falling down. So to believe a single tremor in Blackpool 2km away from the drill site and 1km deeper than the well could be felt and cause any damage is unbelievable.

    Hydraulic fracturing has been carried out on hundreds of wells. The amounts of fluid used will vary. But fracking is fracking just as much as drilling is drilling whether for oil or gas. The difference between fracking in the past and modern fracking is equivalent to the difference between the engine in Model T Ford and that of a F1 car. They use the same principles, but the fuel, efficiency and technology have improved.

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