Tremor forces pause in fracking

Red light event on Friday morning is strongest of 17 recent tremors

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Cuadrilla said it hoped to begin fracking again tomorrow after a seismic event this morning at its Preston New Road site in Lancashire triggered a red light on its warning system.

The tremor of 0.76ML in magnitude followed 16 much smaller events over the last week as fracking resumed for the first time in the UK since 2011.

Seismic events only fall under the Oil and Gas Authority’s traffic light system if the company was actually pumping fluids at the time.

In a statement, a Cuadrilla spokesperson said: “Operations will now pause for the next 18 hours, during which seismicity levels will continue to be measured.

“The British Geological Survey records seismicity to one decimal place and therefore have recorded the event as 0.8ML.

“Micro-seismic events such as these result in tiny movements that are way below anything that would be felt at surface, much less cause any harm or damage.

“Without the sophisticated monitoring in place at Cuadrilla, they would not be detected. It is reassuring that the monitoring and traffic light system is working as it should.

“All the relevant regulators were informed without delay and we have verified that the well integrity is intact. As per the hydraulic fracture plan in place at Preston New Road, work will now pause for at least 18 hours and is expected to recommence in the morning.”

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