By Maximilian Clarke
Shale gas extraction from Caudrilla Resources’ well on the Lancashire Coast was the likely cause of seismicity in the region, a report by the UK energy company has found.
Shale gas extraction, which involves blasting water into fissures in rock beneath the water table to release natural gas, has generated controversy over concerns over its safety. The findings of the report are likely to strengthen resistance.
But Caudrilla assert that injection took place 3,000 m below the earth’s surface, and any resultant quakes reaching the surface are unlikely to ‘have any impact at all at the surface’. The most recent earthquake caused by extraction resulted in no damage to property or people, despite tremours hitting urban areas including Blackpool.
Further, the operations have the potential to create some 5,600 high-skilled jobs in the UK whilst helping to address the UK’s worsening energy dependence.
The executive summery of Caudrilla’s report read”
The report concludes that it is highly probable that the fracing at Preese Hall-1 well triggered the recorded seismic events. This was due to an unusual combination of factors including the specific geology of the well site, coupled with the pressure exerted by water injection. This combination of geological factors was rare and would be unlikely to occur together again at future well sites. If these factors were to combine again in the future local geology limits seismic events to around magnitude 3 on the Richter scale as a worst-case scenario.
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