UK firm restarts fracking in Lancashire after tremors

 UK firm restarts fracking in Lancashire after tremors

By Nina Chestney

British shale gas exploration firm Cuadrilla said it had resumed fracking at its site in Lancashire, after securing all required permits.

Operations at the first well at the Preston New Road site in Lancashire where halted several times last year because of minor seismic events. British regulations demand work be suspended if seismic activity of magnitude 0.5 or more is detected.

Last month, the company said it would start operations at the second well at the Preston site, using a thicker fracking liquid to help to cut down on seismic events.

The work will be completed by the end of November. Then flow-testing of the well will take place, with the results expected early in 2020, Cuadrilla said. Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, involves extracting gas from rocks by breaking them up with water and chemicals at high pressure.

It is opposed by some environmentalists who say extracting more fossil fuel is at odds with Britain’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is banned across Ireland - in the north and the south.

“As we have often said, Preston New Road is one of the most monitored oil and gas sites anywhere in the world. We have proven it is a well-run, entirely safe and environmentally-responsible operation,” said Laura Hughes, projects and operations director at Cuadrilla.

“While there may well be low levels of induced seismicity, local people should be reassured that any resulting ground motion will be far below anything that could cause harm or damage and, indeed, is likely to be much less than caused daily by other industries such as quarrying or construction or even heavy goods vehicles travelling on our roads,” she added.

A UK government spokesperson said shale gas will be an important new domestic energy source. Britain currently imports almost 60% of its gas and the government’s climate advisers say this could rise to 85% by 2050.

Meanwhile, in the US, Democrat nominee hopeful Bernie Sanders said he would ban the practice of fracking to extract natural gas and oil, the import and export of fossil fuels and set a moratorium on nuclear power-plant license renewals.

“As president, Bernie Sanders will boldly embrace the moral imperative of climate change and mobilise the political will necessary for a wholesale transformation of our society, with massive investments in sustainable energy, energy efficiency, and a transformation of our transportation system,” his plan says.

By Reuters. Additional reporting Irish Examiner

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