Fracking the likely cause of minor earthquakes in UK – report

02 November 2011 13:57  [Source: ICIS news]

Europe shale five years from US production levels - Erste LONDON (ICIS)--Shale gas fracking was the likely cause of two minor earthquakes in the northwest of the UK, independent drilling firm Cuadrilla Resources said on Wednesday.

The results of a report commissioned by the firm from European seismologists and geo-engineering experts will be discussed with the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) before a decision is taken on whether fracking can begin again, it said.

The report suggests that a combination of geological factors similar to that seen at the well site at which fracking occurred is unlikely to be encountered again.

Existing fault lines associated with the well drilled at Preese Hall, near Blackpool, were determined to be largely the cause of the seismic activity that in April and May measured 2.3 and 1.5 on the Richter scale.

The UK company said it could be months, however, before discussions with DECC are concluded and fracking in its Bowland Basin licensed acreage resumes.

Cuadrilla suspended drilling at its Banks site in southwest Lancashire on Wednesday after demonstrators attached themselves to drilling machinery.  

The company fracked initially at its Preese Hall-1 well and has largely completed drilling at the Banks site. It has completed drilling at the Grange Hill well near the village of Singleton and expects to start drilling at a fourth site in the licence area, Anna’s Pond, in December this year or January 2012.

It estimated in September that its licensed acreage was positioned over more than 200,000bn cubic feet of gas, 10% of which might be recoverable.

By: Nigel Davis
+44 20 8652 3214

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