Regulation

Largest tremor so far stops Cuadrilla’s fracking again

181029 bubble chart Refracktion

Size of earth tremors around Cuadrilla’s fracking site at Preston New Road. Author: Refracktion using data from the British Geological Survey

Cuadrilla had to stop fracking again this morning because of another earth tremor – the biggest recorded so far.

A 1.1 magnitude (ML) tremor happened while the company was fracking the well at Preston New Road near Blackpool.

This is the second time in the past four days that Cuadrilla has had to stop fracking.

Today’s tremor was classed as a red event under the government’s traffic light system regulations.

Red events cover all seismic activity at 0.5ML or above that happen during fracking. Under the regulations, a red event requires Cuadrilla is required to stop fracking for 18 hours and to check the integrity of the well.

The 1.1ML tremor follows another red event, measured by the British Geological Survey at 0.8ML, on Friday (26 October 2018). DrillOrDrop report

There was also a 0.8ML tremor on Saturday (27 October 2018), after fracking had finished, which was classed as a “trailing event”.

181029v2 tremor tracker

Recorded tremors at Preston New Road up to 13:00 29/10/18 Data:BGS, Background photo: Google Earth; Graphic: DrillOrDrop

This morning’s event was at 11.30am and was located west of the well pad and north of Preston New Road. It was close to the location of Saturday’s trailing event.

There were also three other smaller seismic events today, measuring -0.2, -0.4 and 0.1ML

This group brings the total number of tremors near the site to 27 tremors since seismic activity began on 18 October 2018. DrillOrDrop tremor tracker

181029 BGS chart

Extract of data from the British Geological Survey of seismic activity in the British Isles since 18 October 2018

Cuadrilla started fracking on 15 October 2018. Under the terms of its planning permission, it can frack all day Monday-Friday and on Saturday mornings. Including today, the company has had 13 days available for fracking, although it would not reveal to DrillOrDrop on which days the operation was carried out. Seismic activity has now been recorded on 10 of these available days.

A statement from Cuadrilla this afternoon said:

“Cuadrilla can confirm that a micro seismic event measuring 1.1ML (local magnitude) was detected at about 11.30am today (Monday, October 29) whilst the team were hydraulically fracturing at our exploration site in Preston New Road, Little Plumpton, Lancashire.

“This is the latest micro seismic event to be detected by the organisation’s highly sophisticated monitoring systems and verified by the British Geological Survey (BGS). This will be classed as a ‘red’ event as part of the traffic light system operated by the Oil and Gas Authority but as we have said many times this level is way below anything that can be felt at surface and a very long way from anything that would cause damage or harm.

“In line with regulations, hydraulic fracturing has paused for 18 hours now, during which seismicity will continue to be closely monitored by ourselves and the relevant regulators. Well integrity has been checked and verified.”

The traffic light system was introduced after fracking by Cuadrilla in 2011 at Preese Hall, also near Blackpool, caused a series of 50 earth tremors. These included events measuring 2.3ML and 1.5ML.

DrillOrDrop tremor tracker

What does a red light mean for fracking?

The shadow of Preese Hall over UK fracking regulations

105 replies »

  1. I would trust there is seismic activity taking place if they are fracking. Doh-that is the purpose of it.

    Equally, I expect the grass to be cut when I run the mower over it. Shock/horror.

  2. TW, as mentioned before, the extra demand to supply electric cars – for the next several years – comes from the spare capacity in the existing grid which is calibrated for peak demand and does not easily ramp up and down. If you can imagine the off-peak ‘troughs’, which are very large, then you’ll see there’s a surfeit of energy to be tapped. Even the smart/fast charge service station outlets make use of the off-peak power for charging cars at any time by the use of time-shifting storage. This leveling effect of demand overall, including the time shifting by local (household and micro-grid) storage actually makes the total grid more efficient.

  3. Some information from the BGS website copied below. It shows why Blackpool features so prominently – they are not measuring below 2ML anywhere else in the Country. It also notes why watching the Real Time Seismograms (which I have been doing) is not really relevant due to the inadequate resolution which is not designed to detect anything small. AQ04 is the closest.

    Why are BGS able to detect such small earthquakes?

    A dense network of temporary seismic sensors around Blackpool allows us to detect much smaller earthquakes than we are typically able to do in other parts of the UK. The BGS permanent network of sensors across the UK is usually able to detect most earthquakes with magnitudes of 2.0 ML or above anywhere in the UK, though this may vary from place to place and also at different times. All of the events detected near Preston New Road have magnitudes that are far below our normal detection threshold.

    Why are the events listed on the Recent Events list not visible on the Real Time Seismograms?

    The events are very small, much smaller than we would normally be able to detect. Each horizontal line on the real time seismograms shows 30 minutes of data, so the resolution is insufficient to see anything small. The picture below shows the ground motions recorded on nearby stations for the magnitude 0.8 ML event on 26 October at 11:36. AQ04 is about 1 km away and AQ05 is about 3km.

  4. Every day fraccing continues is a good day. I take extra special enjoyment knowing Crembule in particular is having to be a good little person and watch from the sidelines.
    The hypocrites will slowly start to wonder what they need to do to get things to halt….. I already know the answer, move to another country and give us peace.

    • Pffft. I’d that the best you have? C’mon try a bit harder, please! I am embarrassed for you if that’s all you have.

      And when you say another country do you mean a progressive country that has banned this dirty business, like Scotland for instance? If only, this country is going to hell in a hand cart with this shower of a zombie Government beholden to the FF Dinos.

  5. Perhaps you should do the same GBK, the tremors keep on coming and it must grate on Egan, is that why he wants the TLS trigger increased.

  6. Winter on the way – Belgium in trouble – looks like a messed up energy policy. Needs more renewable and more gas.

  7. Wonder why the tremors keep on coming?

    Progress being made-that’s what the fracking is supposed to do.

    Yes, Cuadrilla want the TLS modified, and it probably will be, but possibly not quite yet. Following the precautionary principle currently-just like the chap with the flag a few paces in front of the early motor cars. A few 1s to show that is all OK at that level may be what it takes.

    • Road traffic injuries are estimated to be the eighth leading cause of death globally and the leading cause of death for young people aged 15–29…can we bring that chap out of retirement or does progress not look like that?

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