Cuadrilla maintains fracking will be essential to the UK meeting its net zero carbon emissions targets
UK fracking company Cuadrilla has issued an official apology for the 2.9ML tremor it caused at its Preston New Road site near Blackpool during the early hours on 26 August.
The event occurred just days after the company caused a 1.55ML tremor, with both exceeding the 0.5ML limit enforced by the country’s regulators, meaning work has now been suspended.
“We are sorry for any concern this has caused,” the firm said in a statement.
“We are in the process of visiting local people who have raised concerns about minor damage to their property and will repair any damage that is assessed to have been caused by the seismic events.
“Hydraulic fracturing remains suspended and our technical team continues to work with the regulator to address a number of questions raised following the recent seismic events.
“We don’t have a date for operations to restart but it won’t be until both the regulator and ourselves are confident that the technical questions have been satisfactorily answered and the risk of a repeat occurrence has been properly mitigated.
“We continue to monitor the wells each and every day and there is no change to well integrity.”
Latest tremor puts Cuadrilla fracking operations in doubt
Last month, Cuadrilla announced its intention to write to Lancashire County Council for a “minor variation” to the planning permission contract for its ongoing shale gas extraction project at Preston New Road.
One of the aims of the exercise was to have the November 2019 deadline for fracking its UK site extended until 2021.
In a last-minute bid to encourage a policy change designed to facilitate the practice, it resumed drilling a second well at the location last week after it was forced to abandon the first in the wake of multiple earth tremors.
CEO Francis Egan said: “The current rule requires all drilling and hydraulic fracturing operations to be completed within a period of 30 months from the date of commencement of the drilling of the first well.
“This would in effect require drilling and hydraulic fracturing to conclude by the end of November 2019.
“By the end of November 2019 we are in fact likely to have spent no more than 21 months in total drilling or fracturing on site since the commencement of drilling the first well at Preston New Road.
“Our proposed variation would seek to allow additional time for drilling and hydraulic fracturing operations but not to change either the existing approved work scope to drill and hydraulically fracture up to four wells at Preston New Road or the requirement for the site to be decommissioned and restored by April 2023.”
The UK government has since said it plans to “consider” reviewing the current system for fracking in the UK.