Fracking hits trouble

18 December 2018

Tremors at Preston New Road

Fracking company Cuadrilla has hit fresh problems at the Preston New Road site, near Blackpool.

Earlier this year, fracking had to be paused on six occasions between 18 October and 4 November due to tremors of over 0.5 local magnitude (or “ML”) being recorded, the so-called “red light” threshhold at which point work must be paused for at least 18 hours, and well and drill integrity checked. The largest of these tremors was 1.1ML. All told, a total of 36 tremors were recorded over this period, compared with none in the previous hundred years. After the last one on 4 November Cuadrilla stopped drilling for over a month.

Work resumed on 10 December and the very same day a tiny tremor of -0.3ML was recorded. Two days later, on the 14th, work had to be paused after a 0.9ML tremor was recorded at 1:41pm, followed by four “trailing events” (after work had been stopped) exceeding 0.5ML, including the largest registered so far, at 1.5ML. Drill or Drop reported that this brought the total number of seismic events at that site to 57, including 21 in the period 10-14 December.

How much longer will Cuadrilla keep on with this before realising that fracking cannot possibly be carried out on a commercial scale, at least at this site?

Where did the Shale go?

Meanwhile, over at Tinker Lane, near Blyth in Nottinghamshire, another fracking company, iGas, claimed to have drilled to the total depth allowed under the terms of their Planning Permission (3,300m) “significantly ahead of schedule” only to find that they couldn’t find the Bowland Shale deposits they were looking for!

In a Statement issued to investors they said: “The shales encountered did not include the primary target, the Bowland shale”. However, they did say that Tinker Lane was “a margin sited well”: does this indicate that they were testing to find the edge and extent of Bowland Shale?

Either way, it means that iGas will not ever be fracking at that site, good news for all those who live nearby and held a sustained protest at the gates. We offer them all our congratulations and best wishes for Christmas and for the future.

Reports can be read here (Drill or Drop) and here (Investegate)

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