UK ‘fracking’ can be managed effectively through regulation - academy

29 June 2012 12:46  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’, can be managed effectively in the UK as long as operational best practices are implemented and robustly enforced through regulation, the Royal Academy of Engineering said on Friday.

Robert Mair, chair of the academy’s fracking review working group said: "There has been much speculation around the safety of shale gas extraction following examples of poor practice in the US”.

“We found that well integrity is of key importance but the most common areas of concern, such as the causation of earthquakes with any significant impact or fractures reaching and contaminating drinking water, were very low risk,” he added.

However, Mair said that hydraulic fracturing is not completely risk-free.

“Strong regulation and robust monitoring systems must be put in place and best practice strictly enforced if the government is to give the go-ahead to further exploration,” he added.

“In particular, we emphasise the need for further development and support of the UK's regulatory system, together with environmental risk assessments for all shale gas operations and more extensive inspections and testing to ensure the integrity of every well," said Mair.

Concerns over fracking were raised in June 2011 when it was suggested that shale-gas drilling near Blackpool, in the northwest of the UK, triggered a small earthquake in the area.

In April 2012, the UK government said fracking should be subject to robust measures to minimise the risk of related seismic activity.

By: Leigh Stringer
+44 208 652 3214

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