“Fracking earth tremor felt like a car hitting building” – council told

181213 tremor tracker

Recorded tremors at Preston New Road from 10/12/18 to 13:25 on 13/12/18 Data:BGS, Background photo: Google Earth; Graphic: DrillOrDrop

The largest earth tremor linked to fracking at Cuadrilla’s shale gas site in Lancashire felt like a “car hitting a building at speed”, Lancashire councillors were told today.

Cllr Paul Hayhurst, who represents the area of the Preston New Road site, told a meeting of the county council that people had contacted the British Geological Survey within minutes of the 1.5ML (local magnitude) tremor at about 11.30am on Tuesday 11 December.

But their complaints about feeling the seismic event came an hour and a half before the seismic event was confirmed and published online, he said.

Cllr Hayhurst said:

“One person said they were in an office building on the Whitehills Industrial Estate, which is just down the road from the site, and they said it was the equivalent of a car hitting the door at speed. That’s what they felt.”

The council was debating a Labour motion to call on the government to suspend fracking in Lancashire until there had been an independent investigation into the earth tremors.

There have now been 48 tremors linked to fracking at Preston New Road. Almost all were too small to feel at the surface. But the BGS has confirmed that Tuesday’s 1.5ML tremor and a 1.1ML event 29 October 2018 were both felt.

A statement from Cuadrilla said the 1.5ML event would have the equivalent impact at the surface of a melon falling on the floor. Cllr Hayhurst told the council:

“Tell that to the people in the office blocks who felt the car that they thought had hit the building.

“We are trying to protect the people we represent. We have a responsibility for these people. They are very worried at the moment. They are feeling these tremors.”

He warned fellow councillors:

“This is what is coming to you. We may have it in Fylde West division at the moment but you are all going to get it one day in Lancashire.”

Cllr Hayhurst added:

“People in my area can’t get insurance for subsidence and mortgage offers are being withdrawn. Get real now”.

Green Party councillor, Gina Dowding, said people were concerned about what was going on underground, around the well, not just at the surface.

The author of the motion, deputy Labour leader, John Fillis, said a two-month pause for an inquiry should not be a problem in a project that could last 70 years.

“Without that independent report, who is to stop them if the earthquakes go on? What happens when there are a hundred or a thousand melons dropping? That is what we have to be concerned about.

“The government should step forward and have a look. They should tell us exactly what is going on.”

The Conservative-controlled council did not vote on the Labour motion. Instead it approved an amendment by a Conservative councillor, Michael Green.

This “expressed appreciation” for monitoring by the regulators at Preston New Road. It also asked the Secretary of State to ask Cuadrilla and the agencies to

“continue all efforts to ensure the safety of everyone and to close down operations immediately should any part of the operation become unsafe.”

The council also agreed to ask the government to pay for the cost of policing anti-fracking protests in Lancashire. DrillOrDrop report

61 replies »

  1. I had the ‘pleasure’ of sitting through this and I mean I was there not watching it on the webcast, it was the last hour of a 4 1/2 hour meeting. It always surprises me that people with so little knowledge are prepared to stand up and speak on subjects they know nothing about and as somebody who knows more about the subject than anybody else in the room, extremely difficult to listen to without being able to correct some of the dafter statements. One Labour councillor was telling us how the “damage” to the well would lead to gas and radiation escaping to surface and another about how it would be should be necessary to stop drilling in the event of any tremor. This was really an attempt to “politically slow walk” the process, nothing more nothing less.

      • Really not sure why you included that link because it certainly doesn’t show any wells that have sheared. Its a good video though, I’ve been using on the well integrity and production logging schools that I teach for some time now. Back to the point of shearing a well, never heard of it happening, if it did, I assume you think it would happen in the horizontal section which is shale (?), actually no european petroleum geologist would call it shale as that is an old term used by the Yanks and should be referred to as claystone, which is a seal with no permeability.

        • Genuine question. If sandstone is embedded in shale as in parts of the UK can fluid or gas migrate after being fractured? An industry expert told me it could. And can gas or fluid migrate from shale after it has been fractured or is there zero possibility as you imply? I think I recall ReFINE concluded that fractures must be a certain distance from aquifers to avoid the risk of contamination? So does that imply gas and fluids can migrate after fracturing has taken place?

          • It is not unusual for a massive claystone like the Bowland Shale to contain bands or lenses of limestone, siltstone or sandstone. I believe the gas well at Elswick is drilled into a sandstone lens and is a conventional well with a small frack as there isn’t (relative to most sandstone) much permeability. It is all to do with the depositional environment when the rocks are laid down. As there is migration of hydrocarbons from shale (albeit very slowly) the hydrocarbons will tend to accumulate in the sandstone and you have a conventional reservoir and no need to frack. The oil in the Forties Sand in the North Sea originated in the Kimmeridge Clay. I can’t stress enough that this is a very, very, very slow process with only a fraction of the hydrocarbons escaping the Kimmeridge, If the Bowland Shale and the rock above it, Manchester Marl, weren’t so tight some of the gas that fracking is looking to liberate would have gathered in the Sherwood Sandstone above them (this happened around Formby where a little oil has been found relatively shallow). As gas has not escaped the Bowland then it is unlikely liquids will.
            As for radiation this is found in the salts in the clays. If these become mobile and move upwards (how?), the pressure and temperature decreases so it precipitates out as a scale and becomes immobile, with the exception of Radon though that has a very short half-life. Also there are no drinking water aquifers west of the Woodfold Fault. Drilling is not allowed close to water extraction wells. I’m not sure what “radioactive hydrocarbon” is.

  2. What weight is a melon? Is there an agreed standard laid down in the “well-regulated” well drilling regulations.

    • How much fossil fuel does it take to bring a melon to the UK in December? (Probably none, if it was transported in a diesel BMW because they don’t count!)
      Much more comfortable with a bag of UK produced flour. But, as Lancashire also seems to have difficulty with farmers, that could come from some distance, plus of course, if you are a businessman/farmer in Lancashire you may want to grow willow to replace your wheat fields because then you will get your plans for a factory passed as you have met some environmental standards! Funny, but true.

    • mimoradwell

      Good question, to I think the weight of the melon was mentioned in the research? The regulations do not refer to melons, of course.

      What was the weight of the car (was it a toy or larger), and how fast was it going ( 1mph or 10mph? ). They too are not mentioned in regulations.

      Ho hum

  3. Why do these type of people have to exaggerate things so much? It’s a common theme, not just with fracking but their lives in general. I’d maybe suggest because not much happens in their life hence when something out of the norm does they don’t know how to absorb the information?
    Everyone likes to think they are unique but you can psychologically profile groups relatively easily. It’s a bit like the pack mentality of Corbyn supporters.

  4. 20,000+ expenses claims will be agreed!

    They should be good at it after Paris and then Germany.

    Poland can agree to cut back on the coal burning to keep them warm once they are gone.

    Always thought CP showed confidence! 2020-that’s it gal, positive thinking. Charge the delegates extra who have come from areas where they have failed to meet the UKs performance of achieving the lowest carbon footprint since 1859. (Telegraph 17/10/18.)

    • Reading me me Martian? This is interesting, more interesting than cheer leading Claire in the Community anyway?

      The Impending Big Auto/Oil Implosion Explained | In Depth

      100 million barrels a day over production of crude oil by 2023 means a massive crash due to electric vehicle take up and internal combustion engine crash in sales and oil will crash and drop like a stone in price, all they can do is sell more and fool governments into taking the hit when it all comes tumbling down. Another scam in progress.

      Wait for the EV RV to bring down the present artificial boost from ICV RV sales.

      As usual the tax payer will be forced to subsidise oil and gas until even this compromised government chickens out?

  5. World energy demand to grow by more than 25% between 2017-2040. Gas to be world’s second largest energy source by 2030, increasing by 45% by 2040.(IEA)

    Hmm, now which source should I believe? Difficult choice. LOL

  6. The poor couple in bed must have been worried that Oil India were fracking nearby – they were relieved to find it was only a car hitting their building…. panic over…..

    • Never mind, if Oil India were fracking nearby, the ground will shortly rise up to meet it? Or the house will fall to ground level?

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