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A controversial gas drilling operation that triggered earthquakes in Britain is set to be restarted but with tighter controls on the process.
One of the provisos is that even a tremor too small to be noticed above ground should result in an immediate shutdown, with compulsory remedial action before a resumption of drilling.
A panel of experts has said a controversial method of gas extraction which triggered two earth tremors near Blackpool last year should continue under strict regulations.
Shale gas drilling operations increase the risk of nearby drinking water becoming contaminated with methane, a study has suggested...
"We found some extremely high concentrations of methane: 64 milligrams of methane per litre of drinking water, compared with a normal level of one milligram or lower," Professor Jackson observed.
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Much of the water used in fracking is collected from the well and processed, but there are concerns that potentially carcinogenic chemicals can sometimes escape and find their way into drinking water sources. Some American householders also claim that shale gas leaking into their drinking supply causes tap water to ignite.
However, Tim Yeo MP - chairman of the energy select committee - told the BBC: "We can't see any evidence that UK water supplies might be at risk from shale gas - if it is done properly." The committee has also said that environmental problems suffered in the US could be overcome by tight regulation and good industry practice.
An independent geological report has found that it is "highly probable" a controversial technique to extract gas, known as fracking, triggered two minor earthquakes on the Lancashire coast earlier this year.
Well operator Cuadrilla Resources estimates that the Bowland Basin prospect site in Lancashire contains as much as 200 trillion cubic feet of gas. Even if only a fraction of this can be extracted, it still represents a very significant energy resource.
On April 1 and May 27 last year, two small earthquakes - of magnitude 2.3 and 1.5 - occurred in the Blackpool area.
No damage was caused, although a number of people called the police to report shaking. After a second tremor was linked to fracking, operation of the Cuadrilla exploration well was halted...
Dr Baptie said Cuadrilla recorded a total of 50 fracking-induced tremors at its drilling site, including the two that were felt by people living nearby and several 0.5 magnitude events.