Residents to quiz regulators over Cuadrilla’s fracking site


Photo: Ros Wills

Staff from five organisations that regulate or advise on shale gas will be answering questions about Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road fracking site at a drop-in event next month.

The organisations taking part are: The Environment Agency, Health and Safety Executive, Oil and Gas Authority, Public Health England and Lancashire County Council.

Cuadrilla began work on construction of the site at Little Plumpton near Blackpool on Thursday 5 January. Since then there have been protests every week day.

Opponents of the work have accused Cuadrilla of breaching planning and health and safety conditions. They said the company twice closed Preston New Road, preventing access for emergency vehicles. Supporters have blamed protesters for the problems.

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said today:

“As regulators and agencies involved in assessing the impacts of the oil and gas industry, our role is to help ensure that any exploration and development is done in a way that protects people and the environment.

“Construction of the site is taking place through January and February, we feel that this session will be a great opportunity for us to meet with local people to explain what we will be doing in the coming months to regulate site activities.”

Event details

The event is on Wednesday 1 February 2017, from 2pm-7pm at Wrea Green Institute, Station Road, Wrea Green, Preston, PR4 2PH.

Legal action

The decision by Lancashire County Council to refuse permission to drill, frack and test for shale gas at Preston New Road was overruled by Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, on the recommendation of a planning inspector. The minister’s decision is now the subject of two legal challenges.

Another challenge has been made to Mr Javid’s decision to reopen the public inquiry on Cuadrilla’s Roseacre Wood site after the inspector recommended refusal.

46 replies »

  1. As it took Cuadrilla 6 months to report the earthquake that was caused by them fracking near Blackpool,I don’t think that they can be trusted ever

    • Did they try to conceal it? No, they stopped drilling, and investigated. Loads of research was done.

      You would have a point if they had continued fracking, but they didnt, so your point has no content.

      • And the conclusion I think showed that fracking was responsible. I am not against fracking – just think there should be a moratorium until we really know it’s safe.

        When are the frackers going to tell us what chemicals they are pumping into the ground cos once it’s in, it ain’t coming out.

    • From “The Gazzette” in Blackpool

      “Francis Egan, chief executive of Cuadrilla, said regulation would prevent any tremors of the kind seen at Preese Hall. He said today: “It is very clearly stated in the regulatory guidance from the Department of Energy and Climate Change that for any future shale gas exploration we will need to put in place a traffic light monitoring system which if it detects a tremor of magnitude 0.5 or greater then operations will need to be immediately suspended. “We will of course abide by this. “This will ensure that the larger tremors experienced at our Preese Hall site in 2011 will not happen again albeit that they caused no material damage and were only allegedly felt by a small number of people.”

      No material damage? Allegedly? Thats not what The Gazzette says:

      “The whole house was ‘shaking’ Fylde residents recalled the night five years ago when their world was shaken by hydraulic fracturing. John Hodgson, of Brocklewood Avenue in Poulton, was in bed when the 2.5 magnitude tremor struck on April 1. He said: “There was a very very loud noise like thunder and the house started shaking. “I have a clock that shines the time onto the ceiling and I immediately saw it was 3.30 am. “The bed was shaking from left to right and it went on for about 10 to 15 seconds. There was a bang as something fell off a bedside table. “I rushed downstairs as I thought it might have been a bus or something running into a house. “I could not see anything. It was later that morning when I heard on the radio there had been an earth tremor. “Later we noticed the bathroom floor was wet. We had a hairline crack in the porcelain of the toilet. “If there are to be many more wells across the Fylde, I would be extremely concerned that there could be many more tremors. “The Government should invest in alternative forms of energy. We have to leave this land for our children and grand children, we have to find a solution.” Dawn Ansell, of Weeton, said although they have four children her husband can usually sleep through any noise. She said: “But when it happened he sat bolt upright in bed. The whole house shook. “When we got up there were fracture lines through the grouting between the tiles in the bathroom. “We had cracks in the ceiling. The house is only about 50 years old. “We had no idea about fracking before this. We did not really know what was going on at Preese Hall, fracking had never been mentioned. We made sure we knew about it after that. “There are too many houses and businesses in the Fylde and Lancashire for fracking to go ahead. Cuadrilla has a 100 per cent failure rate so far, it does not bode well for the future.”

      Someone we know:

      “Gayzer Frackman was another who had never heard of fracking before the earthquakes struck in 2011. After that he started researching the issue and began protesting, even changing his name by deed poll to highlight the issue. He said: “ I was awake doing some work for my children’s entertainments business when the earthquake shook the house. “It was months later that Cuadrilla admitted they caused the quake and then the report came out. That’s when I started researching fracking in the USA. “I had been painting the roof and when I went out that morning there were cracks in the brick walls. “Later I noticed cracks inside the house in a cupboard.”

      Now what is the word that the PFO’s used towards the FoE’s poster? I just cant think of that word?

      • I think I noticed some cracks in my house that day too, Phil. It’s around 2,500 miles away, but a 2.3 richter scale earthquake is really powerful, right?

        [Edited by moderator]

        And for anyone who is sick of the anti-frack hype machine, it’s useful to note that a 2.3 quake is at the low end of the “Minor” range of earthquakes. Over 1 million of these occur each year naturally, and they are characterized by “Felt slightly by some people. No damage to buildings” according to Wikipedia.

        [Edited by moderator]

        • That all ya got pennywise? Hilarious? Laugh! I nearly didn’t!
          Here’s something to laugh about since you are so amused:
          Cuadrilla admit, albeit six months later when they were forced to, that their incompetent drill operation caused the earthquake and further caused criminal damage to peoples property, I am glad you find that so amusing! perhaps you would like to tell these people face to face, [edited by moderator] just how amusing you think that is? And I am sure they will explain to you in good old Anglo Saxon just how amused they are! Now its peoples houses that are cracked up due directly to Cuadrillas actions and rather than admit it, all they and you can do it seems is laugh? Perhaps you are just cracking up in sympathy?
          Talking of amusement, isn’t there some sort of tribal comedic entertainment for the colonies tomorrow?
          Run for the hills pennywise, they gonna drain the swamp! Listen you can hear their boots? trump trump trump!

          • How ’bout this, Philly old boy….you explain the other 999,999,999 earthquakes that happened in the last year of the same or greater magnitude, that didn’t damage any houses, and I’ll take care of the other one? LOL

            • Well you put so many holes in your own country pennywise, 1.7 million of them and counting! USA must be sinking! You neva shoulda fracked that big black circular place with the big chain! 😉💧

      • After causing a 2.3M quake Cuadrilla ask DECC to allow them a 2.6M threshold. This is obviously the amount of seismic activity which

        needs to be produced relevant to the amount of injected fluid required to retrieve the gas and clearly a worry for the industry.

        As each 1 magnitude rise is ten times more intense then cuadrilla are asking for residents to accept around 30% more activity than felt in 2011.

        Don’t inject enough, no gas. Inject to much, unacceptable seismic activity.

        A hard sell to thousands of owners with hundreds of millions invested in their properties and a permanent worry for speculators not knowing if the industry will be shut down again.

  2. Come on now Ken. You know perfectly well that Cuadrilla did not stop “drilling” – I think you mean fracking? The drilling was over – they performed another 3 full fracks after the April 1st 2011 seismic event. You know full well, too, that they did another frack on 27th May, after the 26th frack caused the second seismic event, and the fact that they did another dfit on the May 31st shows they fully intended to carry on fracking. Only intervention prevented them from carrying on, the start of a moratorium until December 2012.

    Sue is correct that Cuadrilla were in denial. What they concealed was the damage that had been done by the April 1st quake to the casing of the well, which suffered deformation.

    If you want to continue your pro-fracking crusade fine, but please don’t continue your deception and misinformation. The truth of what I am saying is in the official report, based on the “loads of research” you quote.

    Click to access 5075-preese-hall-shale-gas-fracturing-review.pdf

    • To put the Cuadrilla “earthquakes” into perspective…..the larger event, a 2.3 Richter tremor, is defined as “minor” on the Richter scale. Apparently over one million of these happen naturally each year. The more minor “earthquake” was considered “micro”, these events happen continually around the globe all the time, due to natural movement.

    • Also from The Gazzette,

      “Mark Miller, CEO of Cuadrilla Resources, said: “We met with officials from DECC and their technical advisors and had a useful, in-depth working session on the initial findings of the report. “There is some considerable work still to do and we absolutely share with DECC the need to have the complex issues involved addressed dealt with satisfactorily.”

      Considerable work? Complex issues?

      Arent we continually told by PFO’s that the whole process is all cut and dried? Obviously, and here admitted by Cuadrilla, the whole process is little more than an unsafe and potentially disastrous experiment perpetrated on the public without free and full public consultation and debate of all the issues, not just those allowed by planning committees to work with.

      So i will ask again, in a free and open public debate organised on behalf of the local public, will Cuadrilla and the other Oil and Gas operators be willing to attend and to answer all the questions put to them?

    • This is from the USGS document: Measuring the Size of an Earthquake


      The increase in the degree of surface shaking (intensity) for each unit increase of magnitude of a shallow crustal earthquake is unknown. Intensity is based on an earthquake’s local accelerations and how long these persist. Intensity and magnitude thus both depend on many variables that include exactly how rock breaks and how energy travels from an earthquake to a receiver. These factors make it difficult for engineers and others who use earthquake intensity and magnitude data to evaluate the error bounds that may exist for their particular applications.

      An example of how local soil conditions can greatly influence local intensity is given by catastrophic damage in Mexico City from the 1985, MS 8.1 Mexico earthquake centered some 300 km away. Resonances of the soil-filled basin under parts of Mexico City amplified ground motions for periods of 2 seconds by a factor of 75 times. This shaking led to selective damage to buildings 15 – 25 stories high (same resonant period), resulting in losses to buildings of about $4.0 billion and at least 8,000 fatalities.

      The occurrence of an earthquake is a complex physical process. When an earthquake occurs, much of the available local stress is used to power the earthquake fracture growth to produce heat rather than to generate seismic waves. Of an earthquake system’s total energy, perhaps 10 percent to less that 1 percent is ultimately radiated as seismic energy. So the degree to which an earthquake lowers the Earth’s available potential energy is only fractionally observed as radiated seismic energy.”

      This indicates that all though the measurement is presumably taken from Seismic instruments at one assumes nearby locations (for triangulation), that only indicates the recorded quake at those locations. The example given above would indicate that local soil filled basins can amplify the earthquake by, in that example, by 75 times. One assumes that to mean 75 times the local analogue increase? That is very near an order of magnitude greater than the estimate locally.

      What this indicates is that a Richter scale reading at the sensor points (i would guess an average is calculated) is taken to be the average Richter scale, but that local conditions may amplify the local experienced event by say 75 times greater than the one given.

      So a 2.3 may become, what? 75 times greater locally? or perhaps adding a little balance, on solid stable immovable un fractured rock, maybe less than 2.3, but in England only a few places are solid rock, and of course that would render it useless for fracturing or drilling anyway.
      But what about after fracturing? Then surely its all up in the air again, as additional fractures could render areas far more liable to future quakes. its all complex order again isn’t it?

      • Clarification:
        The Richter Scale
        The Richter magnitude scale was developed in 1935 by Charles F. Richter of the California Institute of Technology as a mathematical device to compare the size of earthquakes. The magnitude of an earthquake is determined from the logarithm of the amplitude of waves recorded by seismographs. Adjustments are included for the variation in the distance between the various seismographs and the epicenter of the earthquakes. On the Richter Scale, magnitude is expressed in whole numbers and decimal fractions. For example, a magnitude 5.3 might be computed for a moderate earthquake, and a strong earthquake might be rated as magnitude 6.3. Because of the logarithmic basis of the scale, each whole number increase in magnitude represents a tenfold increase in measured amplitude; as an estimate of energy, each whole number step in the magnitude scale corresponds to the release of about 31 times more energy than the amount associated with the preceding whole number value.

        My mistake, 75 times greater is more than two whole number orders of magnitude greater, then in our hypothetical case, that would make a possible local event in a soil filled basin as, 75/31 = 2.4 + 2.3 = 4.7 locally, in the example of Mexico City. Purely hypothetical of course but not outside the realms of possibility. it just goes to show that in physics nothing is cut and dried, estimates issued to the public for take home figures are really just the nearest we can get, but it doesn’t cover all eventualities and we should not be fooled into thinking “the experts know it all” they don’t, they only have scientifically accepted approximations, not definitive answers, but perhaps they would rather not admit that publically.

        More subjects for public free and open discussion perhaps?


          Thousands of people across the north-west of England have felt tremors from the biggest earthquake in the UK for nearly 25 years.

          The earthquake, which measured 5.2 on the Richter Scale and was centred near Market Rasen in Lincolnshire, struck just before 0100 GMT.

          Buildings across Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Lancashire, were shaken by the tremors.

          Concerned householders flooded Greater Manchester Fire Service with calls.

          The tremors were felt as far a field as Southampton, Scotland and Wales – with a 19-year-old man from South Yorkshire suffering a broken pelvis when masonry from a chimney fell into his house.

          • That must have been a long lateral? Thought they could take it in the front door and out the back? Or is that the other way around? They must have had the wrong post code?

    • ‘it was not obvious to anyone that the tremors were caused by fracking’

      Once again another who has not read the official report by the British Geological Survey which states in it’s summary,

      “The report from these studies conclude that the earthquake activity was caused by direct injection into an adjacent fault zone during the treatment”

      If you are unable to read the report yourself try asking someone to read it to you so you can get an understanding of what went wrong at Preese Hall and what the BGS say about the properties of the Bowland Basin.

    • Really, Reverend? Since 1970, there have been only 5 earthquakes of Mag 1 to 3 in an 11km radius.
      These were all caused by fracking. It was obvious to everyone who knew that fracking had begun. Anyone who didn’t, quickly realised that fracking had caused the earthquakes. Cuadrilla were the last to admit they’d caused these earthquakes.

      yyyy-mm-dd,, lat, lon, depth, ML, Nsta, RMS
      2011-03-31, 14:19:32.0, 53.818, -2.950, 2.3, 1.4, 12, 0.1
      2011-04-01, 02:34:31.9, 53.828, -2.976, 3.6, 2.3, 25, 0.3
      2011-04-05, 16:14:50.0, 53.818, -2.950, 2.3, 1.2, 12, 0.1
      2011-05-26, 22:36:00.0, 53.818, -2.950, 2.3, 1.2, 12, 0.1
      2011-05-27, 00:48:46.3, 53.818, -2.950, 2.3, 1.5, 12, 0.5

  3. the age of fossil fuels is coming to an end

    this is clear even at preston new road

    look north and we see cuadrilla’s attempt to scrape the fossil fuel barrel, turn round and look south – a solar farm

  4. Look out to sea, and you can observe the lights from the gas rigs too!

    Earth tremors? Must be God saying fracking should proceed! His/her spokespeople on earth have stated as much. Think we should take his/her advice, as creator of the world, rather than FOE Ltd.

    • Maybe Cuadrilla are doing gods work? Shaking the ground beneath the feet of the fracking unbelievers?
      I repent! I repent! I took the holy name of Godrilla in vain! Please don’t reinject me to fracking hell? I’ll be a good boy, I’ll even subscribe to Frackers for Godrilla daily blog!
      Damn, i have relapsed all ready! The thought of rubbing shoulders with the zPFO’s was just too much for mortal man to bear! I never could stomach the god on our side argument for more than 2 seconds anyway, too many skeletons in that cupboard.

    • [Edited by moderator]
      How about this, the Top 20 most deprived places in England, perhaps all they need is several fracking operations to tip them over the edge? Maybe you thought no one would notice? Or care perhaps? They might not notice an earthquake or fifty or a thousand or two, it might even relieve the boredom a bit, but of course you would not frack there? Fracking is only reserved for the beauty spots away from the conurbation isn’t it?

      Top 20 most deprived places in England

      1. Tendring – around St Osyth and Seawick
      2. Blackpool – By Central Pier
      3. Blackpool – Around the promenade near North Pier
      4. Thanet – Cliftonville West
      5. Blackpool – Near the South Pier
      6. Tendring – Clacton-on-Sea
      7. Blackpool – Between Waterloo Road and St Chad’s Station
      8. Coventry – Around Hillmorton Road in Henley
      9. Blackpool – Woolman Road and Clinton Avenue
      10. Waveney – near South Pier in Lowestoft
      11. Blackpool – around Cookson Street
      12. Kingston upon Hull – Around St John’s Grove
      13. North East Lincolnshire – Around Oxford Street in Grimsby
      14. Burnley – Around Tay Street and Howard Street
      15. Burnley – Between Belvedere Road and Church Street
      16. Mansfield – Around Sandy Lane
      17. Blackpool – Around Manchester Square and Rigby Road
      18. Blackpool – Around Clevedon Road and Carshalton Road
      19. Blackburn with Darwen – Wensley Fold
      20. Great Yarmouth – Along the seafront

      21st century England, what a sad sorry state, and now the vultures are circling.

      • Perhaps all they need is jobs? Despite what the antis say, gas development will bring jobs. John Powney keeps telling us that the North sea has hundreds of thousands of jobs so why won’t shale gas create some? If tourism is so prolific, why is Blackpool on the most deprived list. I suspect that the all the areas mentioned would welcome a gas development and the jobs and local work that come with it?

        In the 1980s I worked on quite a few onshore UK oil and gas projects – East Sussex didn’t want us, not to worry we didn’t find anything. Hampshire was a bit more positive but the wealthy residents didn’t want us – we found quite a few oil fields, most of which are still producing today. Lancashire loved us, bring it on, jobs, money etc. etc. The local pub used to bring us our breakfasts every morning. The local villages appreciated the temporary injection of cash and the local work we were able to put into the local economy – albeit temporary – we didn’t find any oil – although we did find a lot of mature shale source rock full of gas – the Bowland Shale.But in those days the shale wasn’t a viable play. And the locals were sad to see us leave after a “dry” hole.

        I wonder if the antis on this BB really speak for those who are actually seeking work in these “deprived” areas?

        • Sorry Paul but as someone who’s lived in Blackpool all my life tourism keeps the town going. How many people would want to come somewhere knowing that fracking is on the doorstep ? Yes, it may be deprived but that’s not the point. It could be argued that the “possible” loss of more jobs in agriculture “may” be lost than are created make it possible that MORE deprivation might be the end result. If tourists don’t come to Blackpool it dies. Thoughts ?

          • It would be interesting to know how many agricultural jobs there are in the area, how many of these are seasonal, and how many there would be without CAP funding? I expect the actual numbers are relatively small (cf the total number people working). I would also expect the impact of shale gas on agricultural jobs to be minimal. Don’t forget, the land take required for shale gas exploitation needs the agreement of the landowners – who will no doubt do well out of it. Shale gas will not impact on tourism in Blackpool unless the anti brigade want it too. It may have an impact on the inland rural areas but I doubt many people go there on holiday – what for? There are much nicer places to visit in the region. By definition, pig farming, which I believe is one of the more prevalent agricultural activities in the Fylde is hardly a tourist attraction?

  5. Sorry PhilC that you seem to have a problem with basic economics and geology.
    Fracking will be centred on areas where the best potential exists, both in terms of the geology but also in terms of the costs of delivering any production for utilisation. Why would commercial companies seek licences elsewhere? (Or, are you suggesting shale gas is so abundant it is in every piece of the UK “estate”?) If fracking coincides with areas that require extra financial support it is a matter locally and nationally to make certain some of the financial benefits are re-invested in those areas. It really is not rocket science, and is certainly not exploitation in any sense. Were the Welsh valleys exploited for coal because of deprivation, or because it was there? Perhaps the gas rigs out to sea from Blackpool may have something to do with a gas-field existing there?
    I would suggest that “residents” should quiz the regulators about the possible benefits as well as any possible downsides. They may get a lot more out of it, but I suspect that opportunity will be hijacked, (see recent experience in Yorkshire.)
    I’m sure the good people of Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Lincolnshire would have a word for your very “scientific” assessment concerning deprived areas. You, I am certain, know where fracking may be concentrated, if it develops. It will NOT be exclusively focused upon the areas you have highlighted. I don’t really see that “class warfare” is a valid argument, or one that is based in fact.
    I’m sorry you see my challenge as “abuse”, I’m not sure how you get there, but I will continue to disagree when I believe your assessment is incorrect. I seem to recollect that you do the same?

    • ‘Fracking will be centred on areas where the best potential exists, both in terms of the geology’

      Apparently not.

      The British Geological Survey disagree. Their studies indicate that little is known of the fault system of the Bowland Basin.

      Have you forgotten already that Cuadrilla caused 50 seismic events and activated a fault by injecting fracking fluid into it during their best effort to impress.

      The BGS are not alone

      Dan Steward, a former vice president of the fracking pioneer Mitchell Energy, told a parliamentary group this afternoon the Bowland Basin in Lancashire didn’t look promising. He said he was worried by the complex structure of the basin.

      “I am hoping the Bowland Basin works. But the Bowland Basin is one of your most complex. It worries me that it could hurt you.

      It would appear that your comment

      ‘Fracking will be centred on areas where the best potential exists, both in terms of the geology’

      Is in fact the exact opposite of what has been proven and commented on by those with knowledge and experience.

      Please continue with your opinions and speculations and I will correct you with the facts.

      • John – so the excellent flow rate achieved by Cuadrilla was in the wrong place and wrong geology? This bodes well for much higher rates in the right place and correct geology?

    • What can the public expect from cuadrilla in a free and open debate?
      First this aside some from previous posts.
      You can always tell when the pros get their feathers ruffled, out come the tired old insults, personal invective and the weak attempts to belittle anything which may bring fracking into its true perspective. The simple truth about high pressure unconventional fracking is that it has despoiled vast areas across the world, it has destroyed peoples health, poisoned water, air and land, has poured millions of tons of methane Into the atmosphere, see the Porter Ranch debacle, and threatens the lives, the environment and the health of everyone in the UK. We don’t need to frack the hell out of this country, we never did, the alternative renewable sustainable energy technologies have been criminally stifled and sidelined in this country artificially creating so called energy poverty, which is a fabrication anyway, pensioners freeze because they cannot afford to pay the exhorbitant cost of the hiked up over charging energy companies who are hand in fist with the government and energy producers to do little more than boost profits for the energy oligarchies which fund party politics.
      We do not fund research development and production of the energy alternatives because the agenda is to preserve the fossil fuel monopoly on the production and selling of energy which gives the high profits to the power elites. Poverty, both energy and social, is a political elitist manipulation, a deliberate attack to force UK into pre-prepared Hegelian dialectic of artificial creation of problem, ie poverty, reaction, ie publicise all the horrors of what is really a deliberately prepared disaster through the owned media, and solution, which is the pre prepared strategy that is designed to destroy rights and force people to rely on centralised control and turn everyone into state owned slaves, simple effective and obvious. I have lived for a while now and I have seen every government, without exception do this, there is always a massive disaster at the end of each term of office and the cry from the false opposition is always the same ‘Vote for us and we will fix this problem’ and we are stupid enough to do so because we have been brainwashed into believing that we can abdicate our responsibility for our own destiny by simply passing over power from one elite to another, and they laugh all the way to the bank because we are so stupid as to believe them. At the end of their term it all happens again, we hand over more and more power at each fraudulent political musical chairs exercise and they run away planning the next debacle to fool the public into handing over yet more power, and so on and so on.
      Fracking will not bring jobs or security to anywhere, jobs are imported, house prices fall, water air and land are polluted and the machine grinds on to another naive location and leaves broken lives and environment behind it.
      Free renewable and permanently sustainable is possible now there are dozens of technological advances in wind, tide, solar, tesla quantum energy generators and storage innovations including efficiencies in heat pump and fuel cell technology and devices which make energy production and storage a real and sustainable possibility, not centralised but local and locally responsible.
      Government and the O&G industries stifle this to preserve the status quo. Time to end the false obsolete fossil fuel monopolies and move to a real sustainable renewable energy secure future which is not in the least provided by th O&G oligarchy who are doing nothing but pulling the wool over the eyes of the public so they can preserve their profit oriented self interest.
      Stop worthless failing unsustainable non renewable wasteful poisonous fracking now, put the resulting freed up funds into true energy security and lets move on out of this insane trap of monopolistic oligarchies, political corruption and the pernicious strangle hold of O&G backward failed irrelevance.

      • Phil C – you are bringing up Porter Ranch again? You seem to have a problem understanding that Porter Ranch was a gas storage well on a gas storage field?

        • Paul… New reports coming in “State regulators don’t seem to know what caused the leak, or how to stop it. But newly uncovered documents show that hydraulic fracturing was commonly used in the Aliso Canyon gas storage wells – including a well less than a half-mile from the leak.”

          California is now fast-tracking renewable energy storage solutions in a world-leading attempt to move away from gas and fracking dependency.

          • They know how to stop the leak – it was confirmed plugged on February 18, 2016. As to the cause;

            “The source of the leak was a metal pipe in a breached 7-inch (180 mm) casing of injection well “Standard Sesnon 25” (SS 25) that lies 8,750 feet (2,670 m) deep. SoCal Gas had hypothesized that the leak was no more than 500 feet (150 m) down in the column used to move gas in and out of the well. Well SS 25 was drilled in 1953 and initially had a safety valve, which was removed in 1979 because it was old and leaking. Because the well was not considered “critical, that is, one within 100 feet of a road or a park, or within 300 feet of a home”, the valve was merely removed and not replaced. The atmospheric scientist Steve Conley said the wellhead in Aliso Canyon was 61 years old and he was not “shock[ed] that it failed”. One reason for the casing failure may have been gas flow not just through the tubing, but also through the casing “in order to meet the demand of a customer”, as told by an injection well expert of Texas A&M University interviewed by NPR.”

            The failure was almost certainly casing corrosion but we will have to wait for the official investigation to conclude.

            Not heard of the well being fracked at any stage of it’s 60 plus year life. And nothing to do with shale other than the injected storage gas may have been sourced from shale gas wells.

            • Yes, sorry, the leak had been stopped – misread the date. However a Los Angeles-based attorney had uncovered documents revealing that fracking of the gas storage wells was practiced and it was a practice that had been exempted from public notification… “My organization’s review of well records suggests this practice usually isn’t noted by the companies operating the wells or state officials … The public is not notified of this practice. That’s because California’s new fracking notification law, Senate Bill 4, contains a little-noticed provision exempting well stimulation for gas storage.” But hints of fracking activity there were also found in well records.

              You can find reference to Aliso Canyon storage wells on page V of the exec summary here:

  6. Shogun-thoughts?

    One word-Sellafield!

    Perhaps that is why Blackpool has declined, but I suspect not. It is more to do with UK holiday makers wanting to go further afield, and get more “experience” for their money. If Blackpool can attract people to paddle with Sellafield on the doorstep, I’m sure that fracking could be accommodated!

    Whilst Blackpool has some limitations and not my cup of tea I used to spend some time in Blackpool, every year. Unfortunately, it was at the start of winter (conference season) when Blackpool is largely shut, but I recall eating out in Lytham (which was within walking distance, but not in the winter!) This is seen as a pretty affluent area, and many from Liverpool would aspire to move there, when they have made “good”.

    I just feel PhilC’s list of deprived areas and associating it with Quadrilla’s application is pretty tenuous, either in terms of geology or geography. I’m not sure how it would link to applications for conventional drilling in Sussex! There, any “antis” are likely to be the au pairs standing in for their capitalist employers who don’t want to get cold! (This class warfare approach is intoxicating!)

    In terms of impact upon agriculture, I would suspect it would be a lot less than a solar farm-unless you are going to rear extremely short livestock! But I do suspect both possibilities would be required to compensate farmers and communities accordingly. Alternative energy sources (currently) have a pretty severe impact upon agriculture. I can’t comment on the economics of allowing a solar farm on your land, but I was told by one landowner he was clearing £150k net per wind turbine per year on his land, (he hated them, but his accountant thought they were great) so perhaps all alternatives may replace a real cow with a cash one, for the landowner as well, who (should) filter that down into the local economy. There will be cries that would not happen, but equally you could say the income from the agriculture replaced, might not filter down.

  7. John, the facts are more simple than you suggest. Commercial companies do NOT invest in acquiring licences and then developing them UNLESS they think there is good commercial prospect of a return on their investment. Yes, there will always be “experts” (remember the referendum) who think they have made a bad choice, but that is human nature. Drilling is not a guarantee of commercial extraction, there have been thousands of “dusters” across the world.
    Whilst the drilling of test wells still remains to get going, the rest is speculation, not fact. The same sort of arguments were made in the referendum with hundreds of experts taking out full page ads., but that was also shown very quickly to be speculation rather than fact. I remember watching quite a few of those “experts” addressing Select Committees.

    Cuadrilla may have made the wrong selection, or Ineos or Egdon, but we will not know until the test wells have been completed whether they were all wrong, all right or somewhere in between.

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