Fracking: Earthquakes

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy written question – answered on 14th January 2019.

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Photo of Lee Rowley Lee Rowley Conservative, North East Derbyshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what seismic magnitude his Department has set as the threshold to stop permanently a shale gas operation.

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)

In the UK, strong controls are in place to mitigate any risks from induced seismicity due to hydraulic fracturing operations. The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) monitors seismicity as part of their regulatory duties and they require operators, as part of a pre-agreed Hydraulic Fracture Plan, to pause if a seismic event of 0.5ML or above on the ‘Richter Local Scale’ is detected. Operations will only be allowed to proceed if the independent regulators determine there are no safety concerns and that the seismic event conforms to the thresholds agreed as part of a Hydraulic Fracture Plan, which they have all signed off.

These regulations ensure that the risk of seismic activity during hydraulic fracturing is assessed in advance and that operations are closely monitored to allow action to be taken by the OGA and other regulators where necessary.

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