Frack boss: ‘We won’t let works damage homes’

Cuadrilla's Preese Hall site near Weeton and (below) Cuadrilla Resources' chief executive Francis Egan.
Cuadrilla's Preese Hall site near Weeton and (below) Cuadrilla Resources' chief executive Francis Egan.
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The boss of the firm which wants to extract gas from beneath Fylde’s fields has vowed his company’s future activities will not damage houses.

Cuadrilla Resources’ chief executive Francis Egan welcomed a university report which concluded that fracking, the extraction of gas from under ground shale beds using high pressure water and chemicals, would not pose a serious earth tremor risk.

Cuadrilla Resources' chief executive Francis Egan

Cuadrilla Resources' chief executive Francis Egan

The Durhan University report stated that the size and number of felt earthquakes caused by fracking was low compared to other man-made triggers such as mining, geothermal activity or even filling a reservoir for water storage.

Durham’s Professor Richard Davies said the study looked at hundreds of fracking operations globally.

He said: “By comparison, most fracking-related events release a negligible amount of energy equivalent to or even less than someone jumping off a ladder onto the floor.”

The research showed mining could cause events of a magnitude of 5.6 while the quake at Preese Hall in 2011, which resulted in the Government calling a temporary ban on fracking only lifted last December, was of 2.3.

Francis Egan said: “We welcome the report.

“We know that people pay attention to independent, rigorous academic research like this.

“To be honest it doesn’t tell us anything we didn’t know. We had all this from the British Geological Survey investigations earlier.

“We have put a series of measures in place which have the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s approval and which are the most technologically advanced monitoring system anywhere, not just in hydraulic fracturing, and we have an operating procedure to counter any problems.

“We will not cause any damage to houses in Lancashire.”

The Durham report said that “fracking has the potential to reactivate dormant faults” despite the risk being small and it recommended firms should avoid rock faults that are critically stressed.

Mr Egan said that since the Preese Hall tremors the company had carried out a complete 3D seismic survey of the whole Fylde shale beds area to make sure no highly stressed faults are drilled and he was confident that no damaging tremors would occur.

However, Philip Mitchell of Blackpool Green Party said tremors could occur years down the line.

He said: “This report is not going to diminish the fury felt by many local people who would readily point out that the now accepted fracking related earthquake at Weeton in 2011 occurred in Cuadrilla’s first ever attempt at fracking.”

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