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Cuadrilla Halts UK Fracking Again After Biggest Tremor Yet

Just a week after resuming fracking at its UK site, Cuadrilla paused operations—yet again—after a tremor estimated to be the biggest yet since the UK shale gas company began hydraulic fracturing exploration in northwest England last year.

Cuadrilla confirmed that micro seismicity had been detected at the monitoring system in place at the shale gas exploration site at Preston New Road near Blackpool in Lancashire. The company said that “Most local people will not have felt it due to its small size.”

“The equivalent ground motion would be similar to a large bag of shopping dropping to the floor,” Cuadrilla said, adding that it was pausing operations and would monitor the situation for the next 18 hours. 

The halting of fracking comes just a week after Cuadrilla resumed fracking at a second well at Preston New Road after it secured all permits to do so.

Cuadrilla resumes its fracking operations in Lancashire amid opposition from local residents, while the company—as well as the British government—believe that shale gas could reduce the UK’s gas import dependence and contribute to its net zero emissions target by 2050.

At the Preston New Road fracking site, Cuadrilla has stopped fracking at its first well multiple times over the past year, because under UK regulations, in case of micro seismic events of 0.50 on the Richter scale or higher, fracking must temporarily be halted and pressure in the well reduced.

While Cuadrilla aims to continue with its well completion program at the site and touts spending on shale gas as boosting the Lancashire economy, climate activists and local residents continue to voice their opposition to the activities. 

Friends of the Earth UK says that “It’s time for this climate-wrecking industry to be banned,” and calls on the new UK government “not to frack it up.”  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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