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”.
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
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.