UK Halts Fracking on Scientists' Advice
Hydraulic fracturing will not be allowed to proceed in the UK, the government announced November 2, a few days after the sole fracker, Cuadrilla, announced good results from flow tests from its second Preston New Road well.
A report by the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) found that it is not possible to accurately predict the probability or magnitude of earthquakes linked to fracking operations and therefore they must stop, said the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Beis). So unless compelling new evidence surfaces, Cuadrilla will have to produce gas without fracking the shale first.
The OGA’s considerations were informed both by the seismic events and by independent scientific analysis of data from the first Preston New Road well, Beis said. “Based on these, the OGA believes that further detailed geomechanical analysis would be needed before we could evaluate with confidence whether hydraulic fracturing could resume in the Fylde, or elsewhere, consistent with the government’s policy aims.”
The government also confirmed today that it will not be taking forward proposed planning reforms for shale gas developments at this time. These proposals were consulted on in 2018 but will not be implemented now.
Other sources of natural gas will continue to contribute to the UK’s diverse energy mix. The Committee on Climate Change has previously said natural gas will be needed in a 2050 net zero economy.
Cuadrilla said October 3o that “flow testing of this partially fractured shale well continues with very encouraging early flow results. Further testing and analysis will be required to validate sustained gas flow rates and this work is ongoing. There can be no doubt, however, that the UK is sitting on a huge natural gas resource of the highest quality.”