Earthquake halts Lancashire fracking, UK

Lancashire fracking has stopped due to an earthquake below the ground. The earthquake occurred just 11 days after Lancashire fracking got the go ahead.

Cuadrilla Resources, a British oil and gas exploration company, said it would suspend the Lancashire fracking for eighteen hours. The announcement followed a 0.76 magnitude tremor that instruments recorded. Cuadrilla described the tremor as a ‘micro seismic event.’

The tremor occurred at the Preston New Road site at Little Plumpton, Lancashire.

Lancashire fracking to resume if the land doesn’t shake again

Cuadrilla wrote the following in a press release:

“Cuadrilla was hydraulically fracturing the shale rock adjacent to a horizontal well at the time and the seismicity is classed as a red event in line with the traffic light monitoring system regulated by the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA).

“Operations have now paused for the next 18 hours during which seismicity levels will continue to be measured. The British Geological Survey (BGS) records seismicity to one decimal place and therefore have recorded the event as 0.8ML (local magnitude).”

Earthquake halts Lancashire fracking
Cuadrilla expects to resume its Lancashire fracking project on Sunday. (Image: adapted from

Tremor was harmless

According to Cuadrilla, such micro seismic events do not cause any harm or damage on the surface. They are tiny movements that occur below ground. People on the surface cannot feel them.

If the monitoring devices do not register any further tremors, the Lancashire fracking project will resume on Sunday.

Regarding the micro-seismic event, Cuadrilla informed:

“All the relevant regulators were informed without delay and we have verified that the well integrity is intact. As per the hydraulic fracture plan in place at Preston New Road, work will now pause for at least 18 hours and is expected to recommence in the morning (Saturday, October 27, 2018).”

Not the first time

In 2011, Lancashire fracking in another site had to stop because of earthquakes. A 1.5 magnitude tremor on the Fylde Coast brought all activity to a halt. It was the second tremor in two months.

Cuadrilla’s current work is the first time that fracking has occurred in the UK in seven years.