Published: Mon, October 29, 2018
Science | By Michele Flores

Shale gas fracking suspended in United Kingdom following an quake

Shale gas fracking suspended in United Kingdom following an quake

Any tremor measuring 0.5 or above means fracking must be temporarily stopped while tests are carried out.

'When is the Government going to realise that fracking is the wrong choice for Lancashire, the United Kingdom and our global climate?'

Energy firm Cuadrilla started drilling for shale gas last week, but the company called their second halt to proceedings in a week due to the "micro seismic event".

If the monitoring devices do not register any further tremors, the Lancashire fracking project will resume on Sunday.

But the exploration company said "micro seismic" events like this do not cause any damage and can not be felt at ground level.

The 0.8-magnitude event was about 200 times smaller than the 2.3-magnitude tremor recorded in 2011 that led to fracking being suspended.

A Cuadrilla spokeswoman said that, as the operations had finished before the detection, "This is not an "red" incident under the traffic light system operated by the Oil and Gas Authority as we were not pumping fracturing fluid as part of our hydraulic fracturing operations at the time".

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Operations have been paused for 18 hours, during which seismicity levels will continue to be measured.

A spokesman for the the Oil and Gas Authority said: "While the operations at the Preston New Road site have been created to minimise any disturbance, minor events like these were expected".

According to Cuadrilla, such micro seismic events do not cause any harm or damage on the surface. They are pumping this water, containing chemicals, into the ground.

Earlier this week, more than 300,000 people have signed a petition opposing the government's proposal to accelerate new fracking developments. I think there is a potential chance we could reach a category 3, and if that happens we will definitely feel it on the surface.

The firm has informed regulators and is confident that the integrity of the well is in tact. "As per the hydraulic fracture plan in place at Preston New Road, work will now pause for at least 18 hours and is expected to recommence in the morning (Saturday, October 27, 2018)". A 1.5 magnitude tremor on the Fylde Coast brought all activity to a halt.

A spokesman for BGS said Friday's quake was recorded "right on top" of the Cauudrilla site and was the largest of 17 tremors there this month.

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