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 Frackers Plan Next U.K. Wells After Quake

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Join date : 2011-11-14

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PostSubject: Frackers Plan Next U.K. Wells After Quake   Frackers Plan Next U.K. Wells After Quake Icon_minitimeFri Dec 02, 2011 8:45 am

The sound that woke Caroline Murphy
after midnight on April 1 was so loud she thought a car had
crashed into her house. She doesn’t feel any better knowing it
was the U.K.’s first recorded earthquake caused by natural-gas

“It sounded like something had hit the house and literally
jolted us out of bed,” Murphy, said at her home in Singleton, a
village of about 900 in Lancashire, northwest England. “It was
like a car or crashing metal. It was such a loud sound.”

Murphy’s home is within three miles of a drill site
belonging to Cuadrilla Resources Ltd., an explorer that says
it’s found more natural gas trapped in the local shale rock than
Iraq has in its entire reserves. The magnitude 2.3 tremor that
shook Murphy, and a second weaker quake on May 27, forced
Cuadrilla to suspend hydraulic fracturing, the process of
blasting sand, water and chemicals into shale that’s made the
U.S. the world’s largest natural-gas producer.

The company plans to start fracturing again next year as
debate intensifies on shale’s potential in the U.K. The
earthquakes are another argument for campaigners who say
fracking, as the technique has become known, blights the
landscape and risks polluting water supplies -- an issue in this
part of England, where farms grow cabbages, zucchini and
radishes using water from underground aquifers.

“They say they’ve been fracking for years and years and it
hasn’t caused any problems,” Murphy, an artist and designer,
said in an interview. “I say: ‘You caused an earthquake. To me,
that’s a big issue.’”

Economic Rewards

Supporters of shale gas say the U.K. can’t afford to
overlook the potential. The North Sea fields discovered in the
1970s that made the U.K. self-sufficient are running dry and the
country will import more than half its gas supplies this year.
The prospect of plentiful, cheap gas -- prices have fallen about
75 percent since shale drilling took off in the U.S. -- could
help the economy, said Tim Yeo, who chairs parliament’s energy
and climate change committee.

“It is likely the U.K. has quite substantial shale gas
reserves and there may be sufficient resources to replace a
significant amount of reserves,” Yeo, a member of the governing
Conservative Party, said in a telephone interview. “Shale is
good from a security point of view, it gives us some degree of
protection from international gas prices.”

Eric Vaughan fractured his first well in Ohio more than 20
years ago. Now Cuadrilla’s chief operating officer, Vaughan said
the earthquakes were a freak event, caused when the process
disturbed a fault line.

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