British shale gas company Cuadrilla has paused fracking at its Preston New Road site in northwest England for the second time in two weeks, after a tremor with a magnitude of 1.1 was detected on Monday, the company said.
The tremor is the third recorded at the Lancashire site over a 0.5 magnitude limit, set by the government, since the company restarted fracking for natural gas on October 15, although Cuadrilla said one was a so called “trailing event” which didn’t stop production.
Fracking, or hydraulically fracturing, involves extracting gas from rocks by breaking them up with water and chemicals at high pressure.
It is opposed by environmentalists and green groups who say extracting more fossil fuel is at odds with Britain’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, Britain’s government is keen to reduce the country’s reliance on imports of natural gas, which is used to heat around 80 percent of Britain’s homes.
Fracking is debated in South Africa as well, where the government has lifted a 2011 moratorium in 2012 and several energy companies were subsequently granted exploration licenses.