back to article Shale gas operations triggered Blackpool tremors

Shale consortium Cuadrilla says deep-level drilling caused two minor earthquakes in Lancashire, but they were so small hardly anyone felt them. The group's report, a Geomechanical Study of Bowland Shale Seismicity, which coughed to the tiny tremors, was published on Wednesday. Cuadrilla says a quake of magnitude 2.3 on 1 April, …

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Yag
Trollface

"water with a trace of lubricant"

The important question is... Will the officials agree to drink a glass of this water to prove it safe?

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HMB

If you were of the persuasion to have a boyfriend, you may find that a lubricant would be important. After washing it away down the drain into the waste water supply, would you then have a problem drinking a glass of tap water?

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Yag
Facepalm

Wow...

I guess the "trollface" was not enough for telling it was a silly joke... My bad.

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FAIL

Naturally the Government, based in London, approves of this

Hey I know what - lets lets some American company experiment with setting bombs off deep underground so they can make a fast buck without shitting on their own doorstep. Do it far away from us down here as well - we're too busy claiming for duck houses, moats and porn - somewhere like, err Blackpool, which I believe is up near Scotland. If it causes some earthquakes we'll just blame the Americans, but that's not really a problem since the locals are too thick to make the connection anway. Even if any of them do, we'll just cover it up like we did with the corruption exposure, and write long drawn out expensive reports containing phrases like "lessons to be learnt" and "no-one to blame".

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11

Are you a total idiot or deliberately misreading the article? Where was there mention of any bombs?

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FAIL

Shill much?

"blasting underground rock formations with high-pressure water, sand, and chemicals to extract natural gas"

You are pedantically correct, the word bomb wasn't used, so you can fall into one of the gaping chasms opening all round with a smug smile on your face now.

http://science.slashdot.org/story/11/11/14/1950245/did-fracking-cause-recent-oklahoma-earthquakes

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Devil

Coal is not that bad

SALT is worse. Coal is "collapsed" as it is mined. Compared to that salt is cleared in large areas using "columns" of salt left at regular interval for support. So if you have a spent salt mine collapse it covers a much larger area than coal.

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Coal may not be as bad as salt, but I can remember when we mined coal in quantity in the UK that British Coal had quite a substantial sum set aside to provide compensation for subsidence. Travelling along the M1 in the North Notts area was a good illustration of coal settlement. All important buildings had to have a pillar of coal left under them to protect them. Ordinary house> .. Sorry, you're not important enough.

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As can be seen

In the small Cheshire town of Northwich

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Bronze badge

Yup. I lived in an area that was badly hit by subsidence. The NCB spent a fortune fixing houses. Once the extent of subsidence was understood new houses had to be built on a concrete raft. IOW it was up to house builders to make sure they protected against tsubsidence, not the mines to minimise the damage caused by subsidence. Even houses built on rafts were (and indeed still are) subject to damage by subsidence.

Worse than that you could feel the houses shaking when they were blasting underground. Nice.

Back in the early days of deep mining spoil was left underground which actually minimised subsidence more by accident than design. Then in the continual drive to maximise profits and speed things up it was all brought to the surface and once any useful coal had been extracted it was dumped. Not only did this lead to worse collapses underground and worse subsidence on the surface, it also lead to serious problems on the surface. The worse of which was obviously the Aberfan collapse of 1966, but there were others.

And lets not even begin to talk about the number of men killed or injured in coal mining incidents, many of which were (and still are) collapses.

Yeah, coal mining? Totally safe.

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Anonymous Coward

odd mix of units there

depth in metric 1.5km instead of imperial ~ 1mile

and then

depth in imperial 7000-12000 feet instead of ~ 2200 -3700 metres

I can't imagine why.

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Boffin

Re: odd mix of units there

Drilling depths are still measured in feet. Suggest straight quotes from different sources rather than asking Google.

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Anonymous Coward

Magnitude 2 tremor

I lived for almost 3 years in Cupertino and according to the USGS web stats we had a mag ~2 tremour virtually every day which we never felt .... also, according to the USGS web site, the tremour was classified as a "probable quarry blast" given the regularity of its time (normally 1pm or 2pm)

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Silver badge
WTF?

Lies and more lies: Fracking endangers water aquifers and land structures

QUOTE: "There's a certain level of seismic activity that can occur even with a truck going past a house" (Cuadrilla executive)

What a facetious remark, there are quantum differences between a truck/lorry causing vibration as it passes and fracking which causes underground seismic events that can be found over a wide area.

QUOTE; " A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said: "The implications of this report will be reviewed very carefully before any decision on the resumption of these hydraulic fracture operations is made." "

This (pregnant) pause is doubtless to allow time for Cuadrilla to work the politicians, arrange political donations, etc. so when the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, led by Tim Yeo - a fully obsequious member of the Tory we're all for business party, also notorious known for using his MP allowance to buy a pink laptop computer from John Lewis, is hardly an independent adjudicator of fracking.

On his return from a industry sponsored junket to the States earlier this year Yeo stated: "There appears to be nothing inherently dangerous about the process of fracking itself and as long as the integrity of the well is maintained shale gas extraction should be safe.

"The government's regulatory agencies must of course be vigilant and monitor drilling closely to ensure that air and water quality is not being affected."

In other words, there's a risk – but it's a risk that can be managed by regulation - and when it is, the positives outweigh the costs.

These junket exploiting MPs also said: "Any instances of methane contamination of groundwater were either blamed on poor well construction (an issue that applies to conventional as well as unconventional hydrocarbons) or were thought to pre-date any hydrofracking activity."

Register readers might be interested to know that an Oscar-nominated documentary called GASLANDS made much of a householder's flaming taps, where methane in the water could be ignited from the tap. It's downloadable from the InterNet as a .torrent file.

New York State is very concerned about the effects of fracking, as is Texas - the home of US oil.

Fracking also consumes inordinate amounts of water, where are UK frackers getting their water and are they even paying fair market value?

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Re: Lies and more Lies

"Register readers might be interested to know that an Oscar-nominated documentary called GASLANDS made much of a householder's flaming taps, where methane in the water could be ignited from the tap."

JaitcH might like to know that the makers of Gaslands have since had to apologise and have admitted that scene was entirely bogus after videos of that same tap being lit BEFORE the fracking occured came to light. That bloke has been showing off his flaming water for many years and it has NOTHING to do with fracking. But then, the obsequious environmental campainers are just as free and easy with the "truth" as Yeo and his backers. In their view they have the moral high-ground so any miss-truths they tell are all for the greater good.

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Happy

Any other spurious complaints?

No? So we can get on with drilling for energy in a normal civilised manner then....

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Silver badge

"there are quantum differences...."

Do you even know what this means ?

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Anonymous Coward

"JaitcH might like to know that the makers of Gaslands..."

Maybe - certain documentary-makers go the extra mile when they hardly need to - but what about the other remarks?

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Anonymous Coward

lol

Eco hippy gets pwned.

Well done Bassey :D

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Re: JaitcH might like to know

"Maybe - certain documentary-makers go the extra mile when they hardly need to - but what about the other remarks?"

What other points? They said Yeo was a lieing, obsequious little shit (paraphrasing slightly) and I agreed. I was only pointing out that the main environmental pressure groups are just as bad.

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Meh

Fracking Frackers

Most people don't know that coal excavation causes minor earthquakes but because of all the press fracking gets everyone will know about this non-incident. They should have picked a better term than "frack" anyway. It just doesn't sound friendly and it is perfect for press sound bites.

There was a radio ad here in the Washington D.C. area a while back that specifically said that fracking did not cause earthquakes, which is obviously a lie, but in today's age of sideways lobbying you can't always tell who is creating the lie: Is it the industry itself, is it scientists paid to validate something with certain findings, is it pet journalists who get fed exclusive information but may not know they're getting lied to? Who knows. I guess we never will.

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Anonymous Coward

So your telling the gas company to Frack Off?

Well I'm all for it. Frack away! Fracking full steam ahead and let's make some money!

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"There's a certain level of seismic activity that can occur even with a truck going past a house"

Useful example that, since a magnitude 2-3 tremor is about equivalent to that felt from a truck driving past a house

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Fracking marvellous

Quite. So the real question is how many times does a shale gas well have to be fracked before it is productive?

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Thumb Down

Non-event

A non-event, hyped up into an event, by those with an agenda to stop the shale gas extraction. Its not as if Blackpool is about to slide off into the sea.

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FAIL

@ Bassey Re: Lies and more Lies

I think you'll find that the 'debunking' of Gaslands has also been debunked.

The global energy companies were very quick and vocal when jumping on certain inconstistancies that did exist in Gaslands, but they still ignored the basic facts, which have yet to be debunked.

In this day and age, public scrutiny is essential, especially where the interests of multi-billion dollar global business is concerned.

Unfortunately, there are too many 'flat earthers' out there that will take any newswire or press release (same thing really) as fact.

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@Jaitch

"Fracking also consumes inordinate amounts of water, where are UK frackers getting their water and are they even paying fair market value?"

Ever been to Lancashire? It's a bit wet up there...

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Silver badge

Past mistakes do not excuse future conduct

Article: "In the Lancashire area of the UK, there have been many mining-induced seismic events at comparatively shallow depths of around one kilometre below the surface, that measured up to 3 on the Richter scale. The Preese Hall-1 well is more than 1.5 kilometres below the earth’s surface so events of similar strength are very unlikely to cause any damage at the surface."

That past mining operations have caused worse damage, does not excuse this.

After all, not so very long ago, it was legal to send children down the coal mines .....

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Happy

The main problem with fracking is that the politicians involved with energy policy in the uk haven't had time to establish a decent investment in the industry yet.

Give it a couple of years and all the technical problems will be solved.

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Anonymous Coward

contamination

http://www.pnas.org/content/108/20/8172

"Methane contamination of drinking water accompanying gas-well drilling and hydraulic fracturing"

Osborn, Vengosh, Warner, Jackson

Abstract

Directional drilling and hydraulic-fracturing technologies are dramatically increasing natural-gas extraction. In aquifers overlying the Marcellus and Utica shale formations of northeastern Pennsylvania and upstate New York, we document systematic evidence for methane contamination of drinking water associated with shale-gas extraction. In active gas-extraction areas (one or more gas wells within 1 km), average and maximum methane concentrations in drinking-water wells increased with proximity to the nearest gas well and were 19.2 and 64 mg CH4 L-1 (n = 26), a potential explosion hazard; in contrast, dissolved methane samples in neighboring nonextraction sites (no gas wells within 1 km) within similar geologic formations and hydrogeologic regimes averaged only 1.1 mg L-1 (P < 0.05; n = 34). Average δ13C-CH4 values of dissolved methane in shallow groundwater were significantly less negative for active than for nonactive sites (-37 ± 7‰ and -54 ± 11‰, respectively; P < 0.0001). These δ13C-CH4 data, coupled with the ratios of methane-to-higher-chain hydrocarbons, and δ2H-CH4 values, are consistent with deeper thermogenic methane sources such as the Marcellus and Utica shales at the active sites and matched gas geochemistry from gas wells nearby. In contrast, lower-concentration samples from shallow groundwater at nonactive sites had isotopic signatures reflecting a more biogenic or mixed biogenic/thermogenic methane source. We found no evidence for contamination of drinking-water samples with deep saline brines or fracturing fluids. We conclude that greater stewardship, data, and—possibly—regulation are needed to ensure the sustainable future of shale-gas extraction and to improve public confidence in its use.

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Coat

Frak me...

... has nobody made the obligatory Battlestar Galactica reference yet...?

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