Cuadrilla confirmed that a micro seismic event measuring 1.1ML (local magnitude) was detected at about 11.30am on Monday, October 29 whilst the team were hydraulically fracturing at the exploration site in Preston New Road, Little Plumpton, Lancashire.
This is the latest micro seismic event to be detected by the organisation’s highly sophisticated monitoring systems and verified by the British Geological Survey (BGS). This will be classed as a ‘red’ event as part of the traffic light system operated by the Oil and Gas Authority but as we have said many times this level is way below anything that can be felt at surface and a very long way from anything that would cause damage or harm.
In line with regulations, hydraulic fracturing has paused for 18 hours now, during which seismicity will continue to be closely monitored by ourselves and the relevant regulators. Well integrity has been checked and verified.
According to the British Geological Survey (BGS), Tuesday’s seismic event was the sixth detected in the area since fracking restarted. It was also the largest of the six, though still undetectable on the surface. The BGS has deployed additional surface seismic sensors across the north of England to help provide an independent assessment of both the baseline levels of natural earthquake activity and any induced seismicity.
Under the traffic light system of the Oil and Gas Authority, the UK regulator, an operator is required to stop fracking if any activity greater than 0.5 on the local magnitude scale, defined as a red alert, is detected. Any activity from 0.0 to 0.5 is defined as an amber alert and requires firms to proceed with caution.
According to the British Geological Survey the Bowland shale play may hold enough gas to meet the UK demand for 500 years if commercially recoverable. (Source: Cuadrilla/BGS – Image: Cuadrilla)