Drill Or Drop? reports there will be no more UK fracking in 2019 as Cuadrilla runs out of time after the recent record-breaking tremor. Cuadrilla has confirmed no more fracking will take place at its shale gas site in Lancashire before a planning deadline at the end of November.
Hydraulic fracturing equipment will be taken off the site, the company said in a statement today. Opponents of Cuadrilla’s operations have welcomed the news. The company’s statement confirms there will be no more fracking in the UK this year.
UK’s largest fracking-induced tremor
Fracking was suspended at the UK’s only active shale gas site at Preston New Road site on August bank holiday (26 August 2019) after a record-breaking tremor. Cuadrilla carried out just seven main fracks in August, causing more than 130 tremors, the most recent two days ago. The tremors included the UK’s largest fracking-induced seismic event, measuring 2.9ML.
A total of 12 tremors measured more than 0.5ML. This is the threshold in Cuadrilla’s hydraulic fracturing plan which required the company to pause fracking and check well integrity.
The British Geological Survey said it received about 3,000 reports about the 2.9ML tremor. Around 100 people are reported to have complained to Cuadrilla about damage to their homes. Cuadrilla said today it was continuing to help the Oil & Gas Authority (OGA) with a series of studies following the 2.9ML tremor “A timeframe has not been agreed with the OGA for this work to be completed and further hydraulic fracturing will not take place at Preston New Road before current planning permission for fracturing expires at the end of November.”
If the company wanted to frack again at Preston New Road it must submit a new planning application to Lancashire County Council. The council has said the application would be considered by its planning committee and would require a public consultation. No application has yet been published by the council and a decision is unlikely to be made in less than three months.
The only other company with permission to frack in the UK, Third Energy, has said it is focusing on conventional gas.
According to Cuadrilla’s daily logs for August, the company fracked just seven of the expected 45 stages of the well, known as PNR-2. Despite this, Cuadrilla said today it would now test the flow of shale gas. Cuadrilla’s chief executive, Francis Egan, said “Our second horizontal shale well was partially fractured in August and I am pleased that we are moving to flow test it in the next few weeks”.