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Second earthquake in four days pauses Cuadrilla fracking

preston north road rig cuadrilla

A second earthquke in four days has paused fracking again at Cuadrilla’s exploration site in Preston New Road, Little Plumpton, Lancashire.

The 0.9 magnitute earthqauke was recorded earlier today (Friday 14 December) by the British Geological Survey (BGS) website at 2pm.

The Shale gas exploration company’s statement  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.”

Earlier this week a 1.5 magnitude earthquake was recorded at the site on Tuesday 11 December, after hydraulic fracturing had finished for the day. This was the largest earthquake to date. 

Cuadrilla said that according to recent research by the University of Liverpool the impact would be like dropping a melon.

Earlier this month GE reported that Cuadrilla was seeking to raise the threshold for seismic activity at which fracking must stop.

In November, Cuadrilla announced that it has begun to see natural gas flow to the surface from its shale exploration well

Since beginning work in October, there have been other earthquakes over the 0.5 magnitude. A 1.1 magnitude earthquake on Monday 29 October, following two 0.8 magnitude earthquakes - the first on Friday 26 October which halted work for 18 hours, and the second on Saturday 27 October.

The company plans to fully test flow rates from the first two exploration wells towards the end of 2018 and into the new year following the completion of hydraulic fracturing operations.

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