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Natural Gas: Exploration

Energy and Climate Change written question – answered on 14th December 2011.

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Photo of Tom Greatrex Tom Greatrex Shadow Minister (Energy)

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change

(1) when he plans to publish his Department's geomechanical study into the relationship between shale gas drilling and the seismic activity in the vicinity of Cuadrilla Resources Preese Hall-1 well on the Lancashire coast at Fylde in April and May 2011;

(2) what the terms of reference are for his Department's geomechanical study into the relationship between shale gas drilling and the seismic activity in the vicinity of Cuadrilla Resources Preese Hall-1 well on the Lancashire coast at Fylde in April and May 2011.

Photo of Charles Hendry Charles Hendry The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change

Following the seismic tremors experienced in Poulton-le-Fylde in Lancashire in April and May, DECC asked Cuadrilla to carry out a geomechanical study to look specifically at the geological and seismic properties of the rock strata and shale in and around Poulton-le-Fylde, and any linkages between the recent seismic tremors and hydraulic fracturing operations in the area. The study, which confirms a connection between the hydraulic fracturing at the Preese Hall-1 well and the seismic activity which took place on 1 April and 27 May 2011, was submitted to DECC, and published by the company, on 2 November 2011.

No decision on the resumption of these hydraulic fracture operations will be made until the implications of this report, and of any further analysis which may prove necessary, has been fully considered and appropriate practical measures have been approved by Ministers to minimise the risk of such events occurring again. Other key regulators will be consulted before any such decision is taken.

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