The news reported today that hydraulic fracturing probably was responsible for the South Korean magnitude 5.5 earthquake last November will have caused a headache or two in the boardrooms at Cuadrilla, Ineos and the other fracking companies.
Their mood won’t have been improved by the fact that this comes hot on the heels of the comments made this week by Professor Peter Styles, that fracking should not take place within 850 metres of a fault and that :
“The faults that are going to stop fracking are five times less than the resolution of the [seismic survey] tool we are looking for them with.
“That means that seismic reflections will give you the bigger faults but below that level there are faults that are capable of giving you earthquakes that would stop fracking.”
So, predictably the industry’s tame attack dogs had to try to find a way to rubbish the link so that nobody becomes too concerned that a repeat of 2011 at Preese Hall is very much on the cards.
Funnily enough, I haven’t seen any anti-fracking activists trying to claim “it was a shale gas well”.
It’s funny though that when it suits the industry to draw parallels they seem very happy to do so, as Cuadrilla recently did with their application for Roseacre.
We don’t need to claim the Korean quake was caused by a shale gas well though, as we are already aware of the uses that a spent shale gas well might be put to. How are we aware of this? Well from Cuadrilla themselves obviously.
So here we have it – Cuadrilla are eyeing up another way of leveraging their asset by using it for geothermal heat generation. Geothermal is looking very iffy in a faulted area after Korea. Professor Styles is telling us they don’t have detailed enough data to predict seismic activity in the faulted area Cuadrilla are fracking in, and just in case you think he might be a lone voice this is what Professor Mike Stephenson – Director of Science and Technology – British Geological Survey – said on BBC Radio 4 a while back:
“What you have to be able to do when you decide you want to hydraulic fracture is make sure there are no faults in the area. That’s really very very important”
So, Backing Fracking I would be quite so dismissive of people’s real concerns if I were you. Its that kind of arrogant attitude which helps to explain why there are twice as many people opposed to fracking as support it.