Gas drilling rumoured to be causing Blackpool to rockJune 2nd, 2011 by Simon Haddock
A controversial new drilling operation for natural shale gas in Lancashire has been touted as the potential cause of a 1.5 magnitude earthquake in the area.Energy company Cuadrilla Resources were performing an experimental American process called “fracking” and it’s thought that this process of injecting fluids under high pressure deep underground to blast apart the gas-bearing rock may have been related to the tremor.
Experts from the British Geological Survey said that last weeks quake was similar to a 2.3 earthquake in April in the same area and that both may be linked to the experimental fracking for shale gas on the Fylde coast. As these were minor tremors, neither had enough power to cause any kind of structural damage, although they could be felt by people living near by because they occurred at a shallow depth.
The Energy and Climate Change Committee of the House of Commons published a report last month which dismissed any evidence that fracking was unsafe. The committee’s chairman, Tim Yeo, dismissed fears as “hot air”.
The British Geological Survey said: “Any process that injects pressurised water into rocks at depth will cause the rock to fracture and possibly produce earthquakes. It is well known that injection of water or other fluids during oil extraction and geothermal engineering, such as shale gas, processes can result in earthquake activity. Typically, the earthquakes are too small to be felt; however, there are a number of examples of larger earthquakes occurring.”
So for now, drilling has been suspended while an investigation is carried out but what potential impacts will this have on the drilling industry in the UK. As usual we want to hear from you on this subject and how you think it will affect the UK drilling industry? Perhaps you live in Blackpool or the surrounding area if so please feel free to leave your comments below.