Red-level tremor stops fracking as total seismic events top 50

181013 pnr Ros Wills 6

Cuadrilla’s shale gas site at Preston New Road, near Blackpool, 13 October 2018. Photo: Ros Wills

Cuadrilla has confirmed that it stopped fracking again today at its Preston New Road site following an earth tremor measuring 0.9ML (local magnitude).

The tremor, at 1.41pm, was classed as a red event under the regulations because it measured more than 0.5ML and happened during a fracking stage. The regulations require Cuadrilla to pause fracking for 18 hours and check the well integrity.

Today’s red-level event is the third so far since fracking operations began at the site near Blackpool two months ago. DrillOrDrop Tremor Tracker

There have also been four trailing events, where the level was 0.5ML or above but a fracking stage was not underway.

The trailing events included the largest tremor so far, measuring 1.5ML. This happened three days ago (11 December 2018) and was felt by people living and working near the site. There was also a 1.1ML trailing event on 29 October 2018, which was also felt.

The total number of seismic events now stands at 57, including 21 this week.

Today’s 0.9ML event followed seven much smaller tremors in the preceding 45 minutes. A 0.1ML event followed 10 minutes later. This and another 0.1ML tremor today could be classed as amber events under the regulations if they happened during a fracking stage.

A statement from Cuadrilla said:

“A series of micro seismic events in Blackpool have been recorded on the British Geological Survey (BGS) website today, 14 December. The largest recorded was 0.9ML (local magnitude) at about 2pm. This occurred whilst we were hydraulically fracturing at the Preston New Road exploration site.

“Detected by Cuadrilla’s sophisticated monitoring system, and verified by the BGS, it will be classed as a ‘red’ event under the traffic light system operated by the Oil and Gas Authority.

“Cuadrilla has paused and will continue to monitor micro seismicity for at least 18 hours after the event was recorded, in line with the traffic light system regulations. Well integrity has been checked and verified.”

Yesterday, the Labour group on Lancashire County Council called for a halt to fracking at Preston New Road so that an independent inquiry could be carried out.

A full meeting of the council chose not to vote on the motion, but instead approved an amendment from a member of the ruling Conservative group which expressed appreciation for monitoring by the regulators.

Local opponents of fracking accused the Conservatives of being “fool-hardy”, “disingenuous” and “extremely short-sighted” in failing to vote on the motion for an inquiry.

Categories: Regulation

45 replies »

  1. ‘There is no risk at surface or to potable water from a well integrity failure’

    Louis W. Allstadt. Ex-Executive Vice President of Mobil oil, 31 years with the company has said:

    Fracking is opening channels up for gas to creep up to the surface and into the atmosphere and methane gas is a much more potent greenhouse gas in the short term than carbon dioxide. Over time cement and steel casings will rust and crumble and studies show 100% of
    plugged wells will eventually fail

  2. Hello John – please define “time”? The earth has been around for 4.5 billion years…..

    I have a lot more experience in upstream oil and gas operations than Mr. Allstadt who ran its marketing and refining in Japan and managed its worldwide supply, trading and transportation operations until his retirement in 2000. Clearly knows a lot about drilling, stimulation and production operations – I don’t think so…..

    Fracking is not opening channels up for gas to creep up to the surface and into the atmosphere. Over time cement and steel casings will rust and crumble and studies show 100% of plugged wells will eventually fail – please can you provide a link to these studies?

    Methane / hydrocarbons have been migrating naturally to surface and into the atmosphere for millions of years, they are still doing so today. Only a small amount has been trapped geologically where the necessary seal, porosity and structural environment are present, the rest has come up / is coming up to join us.

    Old story, old BS.

    I wonder if he was upset he didn’t get one of the top jobs post the merger with Exxon?

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