Science

Cuadrilla halts fracking in Lancashire again after natural disaster

Cuadrilla halts fracking in Lancashire again after natural disaster”

Energy firm Cuadrilla said it would halt fracking at the Lancashire site for 18 hours after a tremor of 0.8 magnitude was recorded.

A spokesman for Cuadrilla said: "Operations have now paused for the next 18 hours during which seismicity levels will continue to be measured".

"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".

Under the "traffic light" system, the company must stop fracking for 18 hours after a tremor with a magnitude of more than 0.5, although those below 1.5 can not be felt at the surface.

A spokesman said: "Cuadrilla can confirm, following hydraulic fracking this morning, a micro seismic event of 0.8, which can't be felt at surface, was recorded through the detailed seismic monitoring Cuadrilla and the British Geological Survey are carrying out".

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

The British Geological Survey recorded the 0.8-magitude quake just after 11:30 a.m. Friday.

"Cuadrilla was hydraulicaly fracturing the shale rock adjacent to the horizontal well at the time and the seismicity is classed as a red event in line with the traffic light monitoring system regulated by the oil and gas authority".

The earlier tremors, combined with technical problems and delays, led to a seven year hiatus on Cuadrilla's Lancashire operations as campaigners explored legal challenges.

Cuadrilla chief executive Francis Egan said people should not be concerned.Fracking in Lancashire was stopped in 2011 after being linked with earthqaukes.

The controversial operation began 11 days ago after an environmental campaigner failed in a High Court bid to block it.

However, the firm says today's incident does not quote as a "red event" because the firm was not pumping fracturing liquid at the time.

Since 15 October, Little Plumpton has been the first United Kingdom shale fracking site after the process was halted in 2011 when it was linked with earthquakes. It was the second tremor in two months.

The campaign to stop fracking could be boosted by the continued seismic activity.



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