Cuadrilla resumes fracking – first seismic activity recorded at site for five weeks

181210 earth tremors bgs

Extract from the British Geological Survey record of seismic activity.

Cuadrilla confirmed this morning it had resumed fracking after a tiny tremor was recorded near its Preston New Road fracking site.

The British Geological Survey reported a micro-seismic event, measuring -0.3 on the local magnitude (ML) scale at 10.30am today. This is the first since the most recent tremor on 4 November 2018.

Cuadrilla said in a statement:

“A micro-seismic event measuring -0.3ML (local magnitude) was detected today at our exploration site in Preston New Road.

Cuadrilla had completed its daily hydraulic fracturing operations at the time. The micro seismic event, registering a minus on the Richter Scale, was detected by our sophisticated monitoring system and verified by the British Geological Survey (BGS).

“According to recent studies by the University of Liverpool, the ground motion experienced from a -0.3ML event is similar to a bus passing on the opposite side of the road or a mobile phone on vibrate. This level is clearly way, way below anything that can be felt at surface and is a very long way indeed from anything which could cause harm or damage.

“Cuadrilla will continue with operational activity in line with its hydraulic fracture plan.”

181210 bubble chart Refraktion

Relative magnitude of seismic events at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road shale gas site near Blackpool. Chart:

Today’s activity brings to 37 the number of seismic events near Preston New Road since the first on 18 October 2018. That followed three days of fracking at the site.

Like today’s, the first seismic events were small – measuring -0.2, -0.8 and -0.3.

But they increased in size during October and on three occasions Cuadrilla said it had stopped fracking operations.

The largest event, at 1.1ML on 29 October 2018, happened during fracking. This counted as a red event because it measured more than 0.5ML. Under the regulations, fracking must pause for 18 hours. Another red event, measuring 0.8ML, was recorded on 26 October 2018.

The BGS also reported four tremors, which are defined under the regulations as trailing events. These measured 0.5ML or above but happened when Cuadrilla was not fracking.

One of Cuadrilla’s partners, said last month Cuadrilla would seek to raise the threshold at which fracking must pause.

The Australian mining group, A J Lucas, also told shareholders Cuadrilla would allow more fluid to come back to the surface after fracking in an attempt to tackle the problem of earth tremors.

DrillOrDrop tremor tracker

45 replies »

  1. Fracking again this morning at PNR!

    At least the frackers and their facilitators have had the decency to go back on their previous denials and accept that fracking causes earthquakes, either during the fracking process or pretty soon afterwards.

    This morning’s frack was quite aggressive and noisy. I wonder if they are cranking up the pressure at last and what seismicity will follow?

      • Isn’t there a saying that where there is no sense, there is no feeling?

        Presumably the reverse is also true?

        And admitting to never having never felt anything EVER, is rather more indicative of a severe case of long term sensory deprivation isn’t it?

        Hardly a reliable case for feeling an earthquake is it? Appears to have the same sensitivity problem as the seismic detectors?

        No feeling below the 0.5 waist?

        Or indeed anything else?

        Perhaps that explains the entire anti anti problem?

        No ability to feel anything at all?

        Explains a lot…

        Doesn’t it?

    • Err, no Peter. Those who wish to see fracking tested in the UK are quite aware of what fracking is SUPPOSED to achieve and that means seismic records will be produced. What is being tested is whether those seismic records are able to be controlled so no damage is caused on the surface whilst sufficient gas is released. Not that different to other underground activity.

      • Martin. “What is being tested is whether those seismic records are able to be controlled so no damage is caused on the surface whilst sufficient gas is released” Surely it’s what damage is caused underground that is the real concern. Cuadrilla monitoring and marking their own homework is not exactly Gold Standard Regulation.

  2. As the U.K imports more and more Gas each year at huge cost which the bill payer inevitably has to pay pushing millions into fuel poverty, lets hear what parliament has to say this Morning on the subject… 11:30…

    The U.K is standing on enough Gas to keep everybody safe and warm for decades come without having to increase prices because of expensive imports…

    • “To keep everybody safe”? Except those in the sacrifice zone ofc.

      Sacrifice zone = The Fylde. That’s next to Blackpool Kish. I’d post a map but I fear it would not help you locate it.

    • Any gas produced by fracking will be sold on the open market to the highest bidder. Even Lord Browne, late of Cuadrilla, admitted fracked gas would have little or no effect on lowering energy prices.

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