Fracking: Earthquakes

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy written question – answered on 6th November 2018.

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Photo of Louise Haigh Louise Haigh Shadow Minister (Home Office) (Policing)

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the Government has required any steps to be taken by Cuadrilla before it resumes fracking in Lancashire following the recent earthquake in that place; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Claire Perry Claire Perry The Minister of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)

The independent oil and gas regulator, the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), is responsible for ensuring operators mitigate the risk of induced seismicity. The OGA is continually monitoring operations around the Preston New Road site to ensure they remain in line with Cuadrilla’s Hydraulic Fracture Plan, which was independently approved by the OGA, Environment Agency and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) before the commencement of hydraulic fracturing operations.

The Traffic Light System dictates that if an event of 0.5ML or above is detected and causally linked to operations, Cuadrilla must pause operations for 18 hours and reduce well pressure. Operations are only allowed to resume once regulators are satisfied that any risks have been appropriately mitigated. The very minor seismic events recorded at the Preston New Road site cannot be felt at the surface.

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