UK-focused shale gas firm Cuadrilla Resources reported Wednesday that it will install "a comprehensive suite of monitoring equipment" at its Anna's Road site in Lancashire, northern England, so that it can undertake seismic and fracture monitoring in the area.
Cuadrilla said that the equipment consists of the same sensitive monitoring technology it installed around its Banks site in West Lancashire last year.
The technology is designed to enable Cuadrilla to adopt a number of early-detection systems to prevent a level of seismic activity that could give cause for public concern, said the company.
Based on the established "traffic light" system used in the Netherlands and Germany, Cuadrilla said it will use a seismometer network around its well site. The passive technology uses sound sources deep underground, feeding back information in real-time. This stream of data means that the hydraulic fracturing process can be closely controlled and managed to prevent noticeable seismic activity.
In addition to these systems, Cuadrilla said it is installing a further monitoring system that it intends will demonstrate that fractures induced in the shale rock by hydraulic fracturing do not extend to the aquifer, which lies approximately a mile above, and will not cause contamination of this water.
Cuadrilla Chief Executive Francis Egan commented in a statement:
"This technology has been recommended by scientific, academic and industry experts. Cuadrilla is committed to working to and establishing best-practice standards – and using these technologies to clearly demonstrate how far fractures extend in the shale rock is part of that commitment.
"One of the most important features of this system will be to demonstrate that any fractures created by hydraulic fracturing stay thousands of feet below the aquifer. It will be an effective way of demonstrating that the process is indeed no threat to water supplies."
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