15 November 2018
United Kingdom

Fracking Restarted in the UK – So Have Earth Tremors


What Fracking is and how it works

Hydraulic Fracturing, commonly known as “fracking” is the controversial process of recovering gas and oil contained within shale rock from within the earth, according to BBC.  

Operators drill down into the earth, then inject water sand and chemicals into the shale rock at high pressure.  The gas then is forced to the head of the well. Drilling can be vertical, but is more usually horizontal.

A growing Industry

The Government has awarded more than 100 licences to Companies who are looking to commence fracking within the UK to reclaim the suspected billions of tons of natural resources.

Once licenced the Companies concerned, including Third Energy, Aurora Energy Resources, Ineos and IGas have to obtain planning permission from the relevant planning authority before work can commence on site.

So far applications have been made for a second site in Lancashire, a site in Yorkshire and also in Nottinghamshire.

Fracking continues in the UK despite protests

Cuadrillo has recommenced fracking  in the UK after public protests, legal challenges and planning refusals. Work had ceased in 2011 due to concerns over earth tremors.

The nascent shale industry faces new challenges to continuation of work on the site in Lancashire after Government regulations concerning earthquakes.

What are the Government Regulations

The Government has brought in legislation, which dictates that if an earthquake measuring above 0.5 in magnitude is triggered, operations must temporarily be halted at the site. Francis Egan, speaking on behalf of Cuadrillo has said that the regulations are “extremely challenging” and should be reconsidered, according to The Guardian.  The Guardian states that Claire Perry, the Conservative Energy Minister has refused the call responding that a “very foolish politician” would relax standards when “we are trying to reassure people about safety.”

Work Suspended

Twice, within the first week of operations,  Cuadrillo had to suspend operations – at a reported cost of £94,000 a day for the Company.  The rationale behind such a low tolerance is that the earthquakes triggered after work is completed can be higher than those that occur whilst the operation is taking place.

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Sarah Hunt

Sarah Hunt

Sarah Hunt is a freelance writer and current French student with a particular interest in current affairs, languages and history.Now that their adult children are all gainfully occupied elsewhere Sarah and her husband live between the UK and France with a much loved dog.

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