UK fracking firm Cuadrilla pauses drilling after tremor

Cuadrilla fracking site in Preston New Road Little Plumpton Lancashire

Image Cuadrilla fracking site in Preston New Road Little Plumpton Lancashire

'When is the Government going to realise that fracking is the wrong choice for Lancashire, the United Kingdom and our global climate?' Cuadrilla described the tremor as a 'micro seismic event'.

It is the largest tremor at the Preston New Road, Little Plumpton, site since fracking began this month.

"The British Geological Survey (BGS) records seismicity to one decimal place and therefore have recorded the event as 0.8ML (local magnitude)".

Fracking firm Cuadrilla has been forced to halt drilling yet again at their gas exploration site after a 0.8 magnitude natural disaster was detected underground.

"This is not a "red incident" under the traffic light system operated by the Oil and Gas Authority as we were not pumping fracturing fluid as part of our hydraulic fracking operations at the time".

"Operations have now paused for the next 18 hours during which seismicity levels will continue to be measured", Cuadrilla said in a statement.

According to Cuadrilla, such micro seismic events do not cause any harm or damage on the surface. It was too small to be felt above ground and was not categorised as a "red" event by the Oil and Gas Authority, unlike the one on Friday, because it occurred after operations had finished at 1pm.

A government-appointed panel recommended greater monitoring and said operators should observe a "traffic light" regime, with tremors of 0.5 or above triggering a "red light" and an immediate halt.

After much controversy, the practice resumed at Little Plumpton, the only fracking site in the United Kingdom, on 15 October.

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.

'All the relevant regulators were informed without delay and we have verified that the well integrity is intact'.

Hydraulic fracturing operations - to extract gas from rocks - resumed at the site last week for the first time since 2011 when it was halted after being linked with two earthquakes.

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