Shale gas

Cuadrilla Resources to install earthquake monitors

UK energy company Cuadrilla Resources is to use an earthquake monitoring system at its drilling sites.

Cuadrilla stopped fracking work in June last year after minor earth tremors were measured near Blackpool, where it was working to extract shale gas. Fracking is a way to retrieve gas trapped in tight layered rock formations by injecting high-pressure water, sand and chemicals.

Cuadrilla said today that it would use a so-called traffic light system based on a seismometer network, which measures earthquake activity through sound in real time.

"This stream of data means that the hydraulic fracturing process can be closely controlled and managed to prevent noticeable seismic activity," it said.

A government-commissioned report concluded in April that shale gas fracking can continue on the condition that tighter rules on seismic monitoring are followed. It recommended the use of the traffic light control system that Cuadrilla Resources is now installing.

A second independent review published by engineering and science bodies last month said shale gas fracking in Britain was unlikely to contaminate groundwater or cause major earthquakes.

The government is due to soon announce whether it will lift the temporary ban on shale gas fracking.

Last week, the Welsh government overruled a local council objection to shale gas drilling, which needs to be carried out before fracking can start, opening the way for companies to explore for shale gas in Wales.

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