Fracking given the green light

7th January 2013


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  • Conventional ,
  • Generation



Exploration of UK shale gas reserves will resume after DECC imposed new controls to mitigate the risk of seismic activity being triggered by hydraulic fracturing drilling techniques, known as "fracking"

The energy department suspended drilling at the UK’s only fracking site in May 2011, after two minor earthquakes were recorded nearby.

Subsequent investigation found that the drilling process, which pumps thousands of litres of pressurised water and chemicals into shale deposits to break up the rocks and release gas, was responsible for the tremors.

The new controls include mandatory risk assessments and plans showing how seismic risks will be addressed. Fracking operations will be halted in certain conditions.

Cuadrilla Resources, the company behind the shale gas operation near Blackpool, said the announcement to allow drilling to resume marked a turning point for the country’s energy future.

“[The] decision will allow continued exploration and testing of the UK’s very significant shale resources in a way that fulfils the highest environmental and community standards,” said CEO Francis Egan.

The company said it was now ready to move ahead with its plans, which involve the hydraulic fracturing and flow testing of a number of wells in Lancashire.

However, it has pledged to work closely with DECC, Lancashire County Council, the Environment Agency, the HSE and local communities to obtain regulatory approvals and planning permission before further exploration and testing.

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