British shale gas producer Cuadrilla said Thursday it would restart fracking at its Preston New Road site in Britain in the third quarter of 2019, with plans to use a thicker fracking fluid to help reduce earth tremors, Kallanish Energy finds.
Operations at the first well at the Preston New road site in Lancashire were stopped several times in 2018 because of minor seismic events. British regulations demand work be suspended if seismic activity of magnitude 0.5 or more is detected.
Cuadrilla CEO Francis Egan told Reuters he hoped the use of a thicker fracking liquid would help to cut down on seismic events at the second well.
“We have in effect increased the concentration of the fluid so essentially there is more sand and less water,” he said.
Egan told Reuters the fluid alterations had been approved by Britain’s Environment Agency.
Cuadrilla and chemical firm Ineos, which has the largest shale gas license acreage in Britain, have called on the government to change seismicity regulations which the companies say have threatened to stall the industry’s development. The government has said it has no plans to change the rules.
Fracking is opposed by environmentalists who say extracting more fossil fuel is at odds with Britain’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“At a time when the government has declared a climate emergency, the last thing we should be doing is starting an industry that extracts gas,” said Jamie Peters, a Friends of the Earth campaigner.
Britain last month became the first G7 country to adopt an ambitious law to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
The move will require much less gas-fired power generation and a move away from domestic natural gas, currently used to heat roughly 80% of the country’s homes.
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