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UK Fracking Paused After Micro Seismic Event

Less than two weeks after Cuadrilla resumed hydraulic fracturing in the UK for the first time in seven years, the company paused fracking at its drilling site in northwest England on Friday morning after a 0.76 on the Richter scale micro seismic event was recorded, the latest of some dozen seismic events since fracking started, but one that was above the 0.5 threshold requiring a halt.

According to 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.

On Friday morning, a 0.76 on the Richter scale event was recorded, in an event classed as “red” in the traffic light monitoring system regulated by the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), Cuadrilla said today, adding that “All the relevant regulators were informed without delay and we have verified that the well integrity is intact.”

Work will now pause for at least 18 hours and is expected to resume in the morning on Saturday, October 27, the company said.

Meanwhile, some dozen micro seismic events have been recorded since fracking at the site began early last week.

Cuadrilla said on Thursday that a 0.3 on the Richter scale micro seismic event was recorded on Thursday afternoon, and noted in a statement:

“People should remember and be reassured that anything registering between 0 and 2.0 on the Richter Scale is generally categorised as a micro seismic event, far below anything that could be felt at surface or cause damage or harm.”

On Wednesday, four minor events were recorded in one day.

At the start of Cuadrilla’s fracking on October 15, protesters gathered outside the Preston New Road shale gas exploration site in Lancashire in northwest England to protest the return of fracking in the UK. The previous week, Justice Supperstone at the High Court in London had dismissed a last-minute request for an interim injunction from a campaigner to prevent this from happening.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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