If you happen to be an oil and gas operator ready to frac your well in Scotland, you could get an official notice from the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change that would make you scratch your head.
Seismic restrictions were initiated after two small tremors were felt near Blackpool, Lancashire, after fracturing operations at a shale gas drilling site. The restrictions shut down operations which cause surface vibrations greater than magnitude 0.5 on the Richter scale, the Scotsman reported.
Dr. Rob Westaway and Professor Paul Younger of the University of Glasgow’s School of Engineering told the Scotsman: “To put it in perspective, if regulations for other vibration-causing activities were similarly restrictive you’d have to prevent buses from driving in built-up areas or outlaw slamming wooden doors. Again, however, there is already regulation in place for compensation for similar incidents caused by RAF fly-bys or mining operations. We’d suggest it would make sense for similar schemes to be put into place for fracing.”
Dr. Westaway said the more serious seismic incidents from fracing operations around the world were from disposing waste water back into the borehole after the process, which can cause earthquakes.
“In Britain, we’ve adopted long-standing EU groundwater regulations which bar sub-surface disposal of waste water completely, meaning there is no danger of this sort of event happening here. Instead, the water would be treated and disposed of safely elsewhere,” Westaway told the Scotsman.
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