Cuadrilla Pauses Lancashire Fracking After 17th Earthquake In 9 Days

Protests have been taking place outside Cuadrilla's Preston New Road fracking site near Blackpool

Fracking has been halted at Cuadrilla's gas exploration site in Lancashire after tremors were detected underground.

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".

Friends of the Earth has helped to organise a petition, signed by some 300,000 people, to stop the fracking through the planning system. "However, we will, as always, continue to monitor the seismic activity closely and plan to resume hydraulic fracturing on Monday".

The firm has informed regulators and is confident that the integrity of the well is in tact.

"It is anticipated that hydraulic fracturing operations will continue as planned tomorrow", it said.

It said in a statement: "Micro seismic events such as these result in tiny movements that are way below anything that would be felt at surface, much less cause any harm or damage".

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Cuadrilla, 47.4 percent owned by Australia's AJ Lucas and 45.2 percent owned by a fund managed by Riverstone, said earlier this month it expects to spend at least three months fracking two horizontal wells to test flow rates to determine whether full-scale gas extraction would be viable.

He added: "It is an extraordinarily conservative figure far below the 2.5 in Europe or 4 in Canada".

Fracking in Britain was halted after two tremors in the same area led to legal challenges. Mr Egan said he expected more incidents to be recorded because of the sensitivity of the recording equipment the company was using at the site in Lancashire. It resumed on October 15.

The technology has transformed the United States energy landscape in the last decade, owing to the combination of high-volume fracking - 1.5m gallons of water per well, on average - and the relatively modern ability to drill horizontally into shale after a vertical well has been drilled. Oliver Eden, a minister at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said this week: "There are no plans to make changes to the traffic light system for monitoring induced seismicity".

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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