Fracking to start again despite earthquakes striking underneath Lancashire site

author image

Fracking will start again despite it triggering earthquakes in Lancashire.

Energy firm Cuadrilla started drilling for shale gas last week, for the first time in seven years that it has happened in the UK.

The company called a halt due to the tremors, but says it will start again on Thursday.

They had stopped after the latest – and biggest – tremor was detected on the grounds of their Preston New Road site, Lancashire.

Fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood (4th L) campaigns with fellow anti-fracking protesters gathering near the entrance to the Preston New Road drill site where energy firm Cuadrilla Resources have commenced fracking (hydraulic fracturing) operations to extract shale gas, near the village of Little Plumpton, near Blackpool, north west England on October 16, 2018. - Anti-fracking protesters took to the streets again on Tuesday as work continued on Britain's first horizontal shale-gas well after the High Court in London dismissed a last-minute request for an injunction. (Photo by OLI SCARFF / AFP)OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images

Cuadrilla has halted operations after a sixth earth tremor (Picture: AFP)

The seismic event, measuring 0.48 on the Richter Scale, was described as a tiny tremor by Cuadrilla and within operating expectations.

Campaigners, who lost a High Court bid to stop fracking, have demanded the firm stop following the latest set of quakes.

British Prime Minister Theresa May listens as Czech Republic Prime Minister Andrej Babis speaks at the start of their meeting inside 10 Downing Street in London, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, Pool)Theresa May begs backbench MPs for support in 'emotional and personal' speech

A spokesman for Frack Free Lancashire said Who knows what is happening under our feet?



This is the earth giving out a warning, as predicted by geologists following the previous failures of fracking in Lancashire.

The increased risk of larger magnitude quakes is serious. Cuadrilla must stop now, for all our sakes.

In 2011, fracking was halted for seven years after experts said two Lancashire tremors – one registering 2.3 magnitude – were caused by shale gas test drilling.

Cuadrilla's Preston Road fracking site is seen near Blackpool, Britain, October 22, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Cuadrillas Preston Road fracking site, near Blackpool has halted operations (Picture: Reuters)

The 0.4ML tremor on Tuesday was classed as an amber event as part of the traffic light system in place for monitoring seismic events during operations.

Cuadrilla said it was required to reduce the rate at which it was pumping fracturing fluid once the seismic event had been detected, but it had adopted extra caution and had stopped pumping for the day in response.

Work got under way again on Wednesday morning, however fracking had already stopped before the second tremor was detected.

Caudrilla said earlier this month it would spend at least three months fracking two horizontal wells, and then it would test to see if the gas flow was commercially viable.

Anti-fracking campaigners tried to stop the process with an attempted injunction but failed in their bid.

thumbnail for post ID 8072391Young girl gored in the thigh by deer in London park

Drilling began on Tuesday and the first three tremors happened on Thursday, according to the British Geological Survey.

On October 18th, the seismic events were small, measuring -0.2, 0.8 and -0.3 respectively.

On Friday, the quakes went into positive territory, which is considered an Amber event under a Traffic Light System of safety monitoring.



Friday afternoon saw 0.3, followed by a 0 quake on October 20th and yesterdays at 0.4.

MERCURY PRESS. 16.10.18. Little Plumpton, UK. Pictured: An anti fracking protester runs into the street to try and stop a delivery into the Cuadrilla site on Preston New Road in Lancashire. Vivienne Westwood is expected later to dance outside the site in protest.

Campaigners failed last week in their bid to stop Cuadrilla starting to frack again (Picture: Mercury)

All are at low levels and were not felt on the surface.

Cuadrilla said they halted drilling on Tuesday after the tremor, adding: This is an extremely low level of seismicity, far below what could possibly be felt at the surface.

2 Police officers stabbed by a burglar in Lawrence Gardens, Mill Hill, London NW7. Suspect arrestedBurglar 'tried to kill police officer he stabbed in the head with a screwdriver'

But it was classed as an amber event as part of the Traffic Light System (TLS) in place for monitoring operational activity.

As such we are required to reduce the rate we are pumping fracturing fluid once it has been detected.

In fact we have adopted extra caution and have stopped pumping for the day.

Seismicity will, as always, continue to be monitored closely around the clock by ourselves and others and we plan to continue hydraulic fracturing again in the morning.

Police officers speak to a protester outside Cuadrilla's Preston Road fracking site near Blackpool, Britain, October 22, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Opponents say fracking should be stopped while the recent earthquakes are investigated (Picture: Reuters)

Local residents should be reassured that the monitoring systems in place are working as they should.

These are tiny seismic events being detected by our monitors as we fracture the shale rock and are not capable of being felt much less cause damage or harm.

thumbnail for post ID 8072295Plastic cutlery, plates, and cotton buds to be banned across EU by 2021

Fracking, or Hydraulic Fracturing, involves pumping vast quantities of water and chemicals into unstable rock to release combustible gas.


Drilling for shale gas is still at an exploratory phase.

However, reserves of shale gas have been identified across large swathes of the UK, particularly in northern England.

More than 100 licences have been awarded by the government, allowing firms to pursue a range of oil and gas exploration activities in certain areas.

A government-appointed panel said there could be more tremors as a result of fracking, but they would be too small to do structural damage above ground.

File photo dated 05/10/18 of a worker at the Cuadrilla fracking site in Preston New Road, Little Plumpton, Lancashire. The energy firm is to begin fracking at the site on Saturday after an environmental campaigner failed in a High Court bid to block operations. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday October 12, 2018. See PA story COURTS Fracking. Photo credit should read: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Fracking is set to bring money into northern parts of the UK (Picture: PA)

It recommended greater monitoring with a traffic light regime, with tremors of 0.5 or above triggering a red light and an immediate halt.

The Government has been pro-fracking despite concerns over climate change.

When Theresa May came to power, she announced householders living near shale wells would enjoy a frackpot payout of up to £10,000 each.

thumbnail for post ID 8072159Thieves stole eight puppies from pregnant mum and her children at knifepoint

However the UNs Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change launched a new report only two weeks ago bringing forward the dangerous limits of climate change and calling on world leaders to take immediate action to bring global warming under control by 2040.

The extensive list of measures required includes a diverse energy mix of 85 per cent renewables and practically no coal, oil or gas.

Pro-fracking lobby group Lancashire For Shale said: A 0.4 magnitude event like this is so small it is only possible to detect it using very sensitive instruments like those deployed locally by Cuadrilla and the British Geological Survey.


The very open manner in which this event has been reported, and Cuadrillas reaction to it, demonstrates just how robust the new controls are and that the Traffic Light System is working effectively.