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. It seems utter madness to be cracking up the structure of the planet, looking for stuff to set fire to when we live on an island, the windiest place in Europe, with tides, waves and wind not only being the greenest but also the cheapest source of power.

    • Arthur

      I am not sure that renewables are the cheapest form of energy yet.

      But as of now, electricity generation is 19.3% renewables, 47.3% Gas, 11% Coal, 12.6% Nuclear with a smattering of imports, hydro and so on totting up to 100%. Wind is the same as coal as I type, or fossil fuel is producing 480% more power than wind ( or fossil fuel 200% more than renewables ).

      So lots of work to do yet while gas shoulders the burden of filling the gap while more wind turbines are installed offshore, more power storage built and so on.

      • “while gas shoulders the burden of filling the gap”

        Love that phrase hewes62! Such sacrifice for the common good? I shall wipe away a tear and go and wear sackcloth and ashes for being so ungrateful to such altruistic generosity and selflessness for saving us from ourselves…..

        • Phil C
          About that shouldering stuff
          No need to get your hair off over the job for gas, the UK is clearly a head of Belgium on the matter, while other countries are all ears about what is going on at Preston Road.
          Mind you as anyone with a brain would know no one nose exactly how fracking will Pan out. Still, protestors have been cheeky and stuck their neck out when protesting, meaning Cuadrilla have had to swallow their pride and cough up more cash to carry on. Meanwhile on the government the eyes still have it when it comes to onshore oil and gas development.

          But to keep this up ms Perry must have both spine and guts to stomach what is thrown at her, what heart we hear some say, no Lilly liverered politician her. Nor just an appendix to the cabinet. She does not waist her words.

          I am sure that seen we will get to the bottom of how Weald oil will develop, even though Angus have a recent leg up in share price, what with their muscular hip CEO being so forthcoming it a time of kneed.

          Finally no calves were disturbed by the tremors, but if they are in future I expect Cuadrilla can foot the bill to toe the line.

      • If you haven’t seen any fluid tankers leaving the site then it is on site. But the volumes at this stage are small.

        Water is almost incompressible so not a lot of volume required to drop the pressure.

        • Let’s hope they are storing it correctly. That said a company like Caudrilla wouldn’t store potentially toxic waste products incorrectly on site would they ?

  2. Arthur the classic statement, wind and waves and sunshine they’re all free…

    Go on then what’s stopping you…

    Gas central heating on today by any chance???

    Turn your gas off and have a long cold shower… People on here have not learnt anything have they…

    • Kisheny. When will you learn that there is no simple pipe in the ground and tap to turn on .that provides this great supply you dream of More than a dozen wells a day for the next 20 years would have to be drilled and fracked to get anywhere near energy independence for gas for the UK. Not going to happen. If the world can turn to electric vehicles in that time frame it can solve the remaining renewable supply issues too… avoiding greenhouse disaster along the way.

      • I think you’ll find phil there is a simple pipe in the ground right now about to tap into Natural Gas…

        Can solar power, wind power or tidal power create the pesticides or nitrogenous fertilizers for agriculture? No, but Gas can… Not just a one trick pony phil…

        Gas also producing 48% of your electricity today as well…

        Got your Gas Central heating on today phil???

        If so like the last fella, switch it off and have a nice cold shower then tap on your plastic phone about your hatred for Natural Gas…

        With all that electricity coming from Gas today, probably a safe bet to turn your lights off as well…

        • Yes. Dream on Kisheny. Its only a test well. Production will be insignificant. Even if feeding the grid it would make no noticeble difference. You’d need over 1000 wells to affect demand. Bear in mind also that each well is over 60% depleted in the first 18 months. Thats why the unrelenting sprawl of wells , pads and pipes would be needed.

  3. The world may turn to some electric vehicles but no way will the world be only utilising electric vehicles in the next 20 years, PhilipP.

    The world will not even have electric distribution connected to the whole world after another 20 years, let alone be able to plug into it. Do you know where all that copper would come from? Perhaps do a bit of travelling around the world and establish what would be required in the democratic part of the world to make any real impact. The non democratic parts are a whole different problem.

    Besides which, electricity distribution is extremely problematic in certain parts of the world and tends to get flattened by all sorts of natural weather issues-then the fossil fuels are there to get the generators going, the bulldozers and the chain saws operating. And the bottled gas supplies the heating to keep the hospitals warm.

    • Not to mention, Martin, the fact that all of those electric vehicles will need batteries. The world is going to struggle to mine enough minerals to create those batteries (which have a life of around 8 years). It’s going to be difficult to find enough rare earths, tellerium, cobalt, manganese, and others to make all of those batteries. Assuming we’re able to do it, what a massive mess it is going to leave of toxic waste and deforested land. Not to mention the problem of what to do with all of those batteries after they are used. They can create toxic runoff around waste dumps. But none of that even touches the idea that we would somehow be able to create massive battery arrays for fixed energy storage at the same time. The scale of resources required for that endeavor would blow away all of the EV requirements and we’re going to have trouble just getting resources for EVs. It’s pretty clear that none of these solutions are renewable, and none of them are easy to implement.

      • I don’t subscribe to your project fear Bob. Several alternative types of batteries will be on-stream in the next few years which don’t rely on hard-to-get minerals or any toxic substances. And the future of electric power will involve distributed generation with smart micro-grids alongside an economy using hydrogen in various forms (either as pure gas or in chemical combination) for ‘energy transport’.

        Meanwhile clever schemes are already completing trials for migrating aging car batteries into household storage systems. For the cars themselves, ultimately their longevity will win the day – having engines with only one moving part, and, not depending on fossil fuels.

        [TYpo corrected at poster’s request]

        • Well, Philip, you will have to let us all know when these magical creatures hit the market. Until then, all known batteries that actually work do rely on minerals, and those minerals require mining, and that mining is not sustainable, clean, or renewable. I am afraid you are ignoring some basic laws of physics and that recycling is not the panacea you believe.

  4. Back to the point chaps.. at what point do we (UK) say stop.. we are in grave danger of destabilising the basic infrastructure of our small Island and pollute the potable water extracted from the aquifers it really being done in my (your) best interests.. or in the interests of those whose investments rely on Fossil Fuel derivatives?

  5. Yet another half-day at Preston New Road. Franny Egan said they would take three months to do this two week job. With all these
    half-days is they job now likely to take around six months? They do not appear to be very good at this, however they are consistent.

    • Something between 80 and 90 frac jobs. One job per day initially ramping up to 2 or 3, limited working at weekends. Rig down / rig up. Looks like 3 months might be exceeded but not by much.

  6. Dianna-there is no potable water at PNR. Fake argument.
    In respect of other UK on shore oil and gas extraction water contamination is not a problem, with some sites being in close proximity to areas that are very sensitive in regard to potential water contamination, and have not created any issues. If you are so worried about water contamination the fields around PNR should be cleared of the cattle we see munching away in the background.

    In terms of those who rely on fossil fuel investments, just about every UK private pension holder. Shell, one of the large contributors to such “pots” likely to pay out record dividends AGAIN.

    Perhaps you would like to pay this out in their place? Or find other more “ethical” investments that would get anywhere near in value and volume? Going to wait a long time before Mr. Musk pays a dividend, let alone anyway near Shell.

    So, not only are you content with many elderly living in fuel poverty, you would like to reduce their pension income to mitigate against that?

    • You provide a master class in evasion and red herrings Martin. Firstly Shell is not involved in the fracking push in this country, in fact they are currently trumpeting their initiative into green energy including wind power and hydrogen fueling stations. Secondly the context for Dianna’s query is (clearly) the risks to potable water if fracking developments expand e.g. Cuadrilla are known to have a roadmap for developing up to 3000 wells between Blackpool and Preston. No potable water throughout that region??

      Trust you to narrow the context to suit your argumants.

    • United Utilities have confirmed to me directly that HALF of the drinking water supplied to residents of the Fylde is sourced from the river Wyre and its tributaries. So groundwater around the Fylde ends up in the Wyre or the Ribble, contaminated or not!

      • Peter Roberts
        Diana referred to potable water drawn from aquifers. Rivers were not mentioned.
        But … river water ( ground water ) is already contaminated so it needs treatment.

  7. There was a 0.5 at around 6pm last night which I either missed or has been recently added.

    53.788 -2.964 seems a popular spot fror tremors……

    • Yeah that’s just appeared, the 21.13 0.1 was there first thing today but the 0.5 wasn’t. What is the situation with Amber and Red level trailing events that occur during an 18 hour shut down? Any additional checks or are they still discounted?

  8. PhilipP-you really need to ask someone to read you Dianna’s post. Another Barclays moment-too much haste!

    “investments rely on Fossil Fuel derivatives”-is the clue. TWO points raised, so two answered.

    And, of course, we are not aware of Shell’s recent contribution to $30 BILLION to export gas from Canada shale??

    So, your point is what-apart from just trying to produce a fog?

    • Try reading the whole sentence Martin (of your plucked quote) and address that. Please do your best without cherry picking and distorting, if you can.

  9. Just wondering if currently the grid and power supply and energy can barely meet the current electricity demand. Where do people think we can get electricity and a grid that can handle the millions of electric cars that the Green want to change instantaneously.

    • Every house will get a wind turbine, PV array, and ground / air sourced heat pump free (after all wind, sun and sub surface / air heat are all free, God’s gift etc…). Must be in the next Budget though – I don’t think I missed it because Caroline was moaning as usual…..

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