UK fracking firm Cuadrilla pauses drilling after tremor

Christopher Furlong via Getty Images               Protest camps remain at the Preston New Road fracking site in Lancashire

Christopher Furlong via Getty Images Protest camps remain at the Preston New Road fracking site in Lancashire

It is Cuadrilla that resumed hydraulic fracturing operations in the United Kingdom earlier this month-at the Preston New Road shale gas exploration site in Lancashire in northwest England amid protests by campaigners and local residents.

If the monitoring devices do not register any further tremors, the Lancashire fracking project will resume on Sunday.

Cuadrilla has said that delays caused by a legal challenge over its Preston New Road site cost...

Cuadrilla said on Friday the micro seismic event it detected early on October 26 had a magnitude of 0.76, so it would temporarily pause activities under the traffic light system.

A spokesman said: "Cuadrilla can confirm, following hydraulic fracking this morning, a micro seismic event of 0.8, which can't be felt at surface, was recorded through the detailed seismic monitoring Cuadrilla and the British Geological Survey are carrying out". It follows several smaller tremors earlier this week.

Fracking was banned in 2011 after Cuadrilla caused two earthquakes of up to 2.3 magnitude at another site in Lancashire.

But the exploration company said "micro seismic" events like this do not cause any damage and can not be felt at ground level. Environmental activists failed in early October in Britain's High Court to keep fracking from proceeding in northwest England.

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The controversial operation began 11 days ago after an environmental campaigner failed in a High Court bid to block it.

'This is deeply concerning for those living nearby and why the industry must be closely monitored.

Fracking has already been suspended in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland due to perceived risks.

Just days before minister Perry's meeting with the oil and gas companies, the UK government announced plans to facilitate timely decisions on shale gas exploration planning applications in England as part of a plan to reduce dependence on gas imports amid an ongoing decline in the UK North Sea's conventional gas production.

A spokesman for BGS said Friday's quake was recorded "right on top" of the Cuaudrilla site and was the largest of 17 tremors there this month.

"It's been caused by the hydraulic fracking", he said.

Fracking works by injecting huge volumes of water into the rocks surrounding a natural gas deposit or hydrothermal well.

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