We thought it might be helpful to provide a general update on activity that has been ongoing since seismicity measuring 2.9ML on the Richter scale was detected at our shale gas exploration site in Preston New Road on Monday, August 26, 2019.
We would first like to acknowledge again that we are aware of the concern that this has caused, particularly among residents living close to the site in and around Blackpool. This event lasted for between two and three seconds and was felt by many in the locality. We are sorry for any concern this has caused. We are in the process of visiting local people who have raised concerns about minor damage to their property and will repair any damage that is assessed to have been caused by the seismic events.
Hydraulic fracturing remains suspended and our technical team continues to work with the regulator to address a number of questions raised following the recent seismic events. We don’t have a date for operations to restart but it won’t be until both the regulator and ourselves are confident that the technical questions have been satisfactorily answered and the risk of a repeat occurrence has been properly mitigated. We continue to monitor the wells each and every day and there is no change to well integrity.
We have worked hard to update local people and others that are interested in our work on seismicity, updating our website and social media channels as quickly as is possible once events have been detected.
The ground motion equivalents we have provided are designed to help local people and others to understand what would be felt at surface. The largest event at 2.9ML on the Richter scale lasted for between two and three seconds. The resulting ground vibration (which we measure continuously) was between 5mm and 8mm per second. For context, construction projects are typically permitted to operate at levels between six and 15 mm per second.
People have asked why we are doing this and our answer remains unchanged, we are exploring for shale gas at Preston New Road with the aim to establish a domestic energy supply that the UK really needs. The Bowland Shale as a whole could be a very important resource for Lancashire and the UK and we would like to continue with our work to prove this. To reach net zero by 2050 the Committee on Climate Change is clear that the UK will need about 70 per cent of the natural gas that we are using today, in conjunction with carbon capture and storage for electricity and as a feedstock for the manufacture of hydrogen. Natural gas is recognised by the experts to be an important part of the solution. We intend to be a part of that solution in providing lower emission UK shale gas to replace higher emission imported gas whilst also generating local jobs and economic benefit.