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Thursday, 19th April 2012

UK: Preese Hall Shale Gas Fracturing: Review & Recommendations for Induced Seismic Mitigation

Source: Department of Energy and Climate Change (UK)

From Summary:

A series of studies were commissioned by Cuadrilla Resources Ltd to examine the possible relationship between hydraulic fracture operations at the Preese Hall well, near Blackpool, and a number of earthquakes which occurred in April and May 2011, the largest of which had a magnitude of 2.3 ML. The reports from these studies conclude that the earthquake activity was caused by direct fluid injection into an adjacent fault zone during the treatments, but that the probability of further earthquake activity is low. The reports analyse the earthquake activity and use available geological and geophysical data, including background geology, well logs and core samples, along with fracture treatment data, to develop a conceptual geomechanical model....

We have been asked by DECC to review these reports, and the further studies and information provided by Cuadrilla; and to make appropriate recommendations for the mitigation of seismic risks in the conduct of future hydraulic fracture operations for shale gas.

We agree with the conclusion that the observed seismicity was induced by the hydraulic fracture treatments at Preese Hall. However, we are not convinced by the projected low probability of other earthquakes during future treatments. We believe it is not possible to state categorically that no further earthquakes will be experienced during a similar treatment in a nearby well. The analyses failed to identify a causative fault, and detailed knowledge of faulting in the basin is poor. In the present state of knowledge it is entirely possible that there are critically stressed faults elsewhere in the basin. It is possible that a 3-D seismic reflection survey could help better characterize faulting within the basin.

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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

Adrian can be reached at adrian.janes@freepint.com

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