Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Latest from DECC on fracking

Hot news this morning: DECC have released a report on the seismic events produced by fracking at Cuadrilla's Blackpool drilling site:

Press release here and full report here

Keeping things as short and sweet as I can, this report says that while seismic events cannot be ruled out during fracking, they are unlikely, and will be too small to cause any damage.

Certainly, any seismicity will be of a lower magnitude than typical mining-induced tremors, which we're able to live with without a lot of bother. I've already talked a little about seismic activity, and what seismic magnitudes mean here. From a selfish point of view, what is especially good news for me is that the report recommends that all frack stimulations should have seismic monitoring, which is something that our group in Bristol specialises in.

What the report does not do is address any issues of water contamination, which, for me at least, is the biggest environmental risk during fracking. Nevertheless, fracking companies have welcomed the report, and see it as a green light to continue their plans for shale gas development in the UK. Which, of course, means that anti-frackers are up in arms about it.

Anyway, this report has featured on most of my favourite internet news providers, such as the Guardian, and the BBC, so I figured I should write about it sharpish. I'll probably go into more detail in a later post when I've had a chance to read the report over a couple more times.

I'll also to talk about some of the responses to the report's release, that I've found quite interesting - for instance why is it that the BBC headline is "Fracking 'should continue with checks'", while the Guardian headline is "Fracking: Green groups denounce report approving further exploration", which immediately gives the reader very different feelings about the same story?

So, stay tuned for more.......

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