People will be able to view seismic monitoring data from around Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road fracking site, the company said today.
The site, near Blackpool, could be days away from the first high volume hydraulic fracturing in the UK since 2011.
The last UK frack at Cuadrilla’s site at Preese Hall was linked to a series of small earthquakes. This led to a moratorium on fracking in the UK until December 2012.
In the run-up to fracking at Preston New Road, Cuadrilla said its ePortal would show any seismicity, the magnitude and depth, in an area about 4.8km around the site.
The company has the go-ahead to frack its first horizontal well at the site, drilled at 2,300m deep. Fracking at the second horizontal, at 2,100m deep, is waiting for final approval from the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA).
Fracking must pause if there is a seismic event induced by fracking at a magnitude of 0.5 or above.
Francis Egan, CEO of Cuadrilla, said today:
“As we prepare to carry out hydraulically fracturing of the shale rock around the site’s horizontal wells, this additional reporting will help reassure people that monitoring is in place to ensure that operations will continue to be conducted in a safe and responsible manner.
“In fact, the data already shows that naturally occurring seismic events of 1.5ML to 2.0ML, which are rarely felt at surface, occur relatively often across the North West. Once we start hydraulically fracturing our limit to temporarily pause operations, in the event of a seismic event induced by fracturing, is significantly lower, at 0.5ML, than the existing background seismic events of 1.5ML and above.”
Cuadrilla said people could also view historic seismic data on the portal. This includes the results of a recent investigation by the University of Liverpool’s seismology department research group on earth movements induced by human activity in the Blackpool area.
Cuadrilla said the team discovered that standing beneath The Big One Blackpool rollercoaster was the same impact as a 1.8ML earthquake at a depth of 2km below ground. A passing tram in Blackpool caused the same vibrations 2m away as a 2.OML seismic event, the company added.
Dr Ben Edwards, of Liverpool University, said his team had been monitoring seismic activity across the Preston-Blackpool region using a network of high-sensitivity seismometers.
“We were pleased to be asked to help improve public understanding of the effects of minor seismicity that may be detected.
”As seismic events of less than less than 1.5ML are unlikely to be widely felt, and only just felt by some people very close to the epicentre, it can be hard to comprehend what minor or micro seismicity corresponds to in terms of everyday experiences of ground motion.”