Cuadrilla Resources Halts Fracking In U.K. Fearing Possible Earthquake Connection
By Jill Lawless
June 1, 2011
LONDON — A mining company has halted drilling for shale gas in England after scientists said two small earthquakes might be linked to the controversial process, known as “fracking.”
The British Geological Survey recorded a 1.5 magnitude quake Friday near Blackpool in northwest England, within 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) of the gas exploration site. A 2.3 magnitude quake was recorded last month.
The geological survey’s head of seismology, Brian Baptie, said Tuesday that the two quakes appeared to have “a similar location and mechanism.”
Cuadrilla Resources said it had stopped hydraulic fracturing, or fracking – the process of extracting gas by pummeling rocks deep underground with high-pressure water, sand and chemicals – while it studied data from the quakes and consulted with experts.
“We expect that this analysis and subsequent consultation will take a number of weeks to conclude and we will decide on appropriate actions after that,” said chief executive Mark Miller.
Shale gas extraction, pioneered by the U.S. and Canada, is forecast to boost global recoverable natural gas resources by 40 percent. But ecologists are alarmed by its environmental impact.
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