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Saturday, 20 December 2014

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Fracking firms ‘could find South Cumbria attractive’

FRACKING companies could see South Cumbria as an attractive proposition – according to a geology expert.

Nigel Smith, who works for the British Geological Survey, has said high organic carbon in rock samples in the Gleaston area – coupled with existing gas infrastructure – could make South Cumbria attractive to prospective exploration firms.

A borehole, near Gleaston Castle Farm, was drilled in 1971 and another hole was drilled later by the BGS in Roosecote. Figures in a paper presented by the BGS showed high levels of total organic carbon in rock at the sites, as well as oilshows in Roosecote. Mr Smith said: “South Cumbria is on the NW margin of the main Carboniferous Pennine Basin, but BGS-drilled Roosecote borehole had some oil shows, and with Gleaston, high total organic carbon which is one of the requirements to act as a source rock. These are not recent boreholes and were not drilled targeting hydrocarbons. South Cumbria does have the gas pipeline from fields in the East Irish Sea so might make your area more attractive.”

Despite the existing off-shore infrastructure there are no permits in the area for exploration work.

The only permit to be sold by the Department of Energy and Climate Change is in the Carlisle area, and a DECC spokesman said it was unlikely fracking would be carried out at the Canonbie site.

Mr Smith said the British Geological Survey had submitted a bid for a project which could see deep wells drilled in areas bordering the Irish Sea to the Department of Business Innovation and Skills but the bid failed.

Fracking work was halted in 2011 after some minor earthquakes near Blackpool were attributed to test wells being drilled by Cuadrilla. Further controversy arose in December, when the company was given the green light to carry out work in Banks, between Preston and Southport, and Westby, near Lytham St Annes.

An exploration consultant from Cuadrilla is due to give a lecture to Barrow’s branch of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers on January 23 about the company’s work.

However, it is understood Cuadrilla, the firm which has been carrying out fracking work in Lancashire, do not have any interests in Cumbria. The talk takes place in the Forum on January 23 from 7.30pm. Dr Peter Turner will speak about the fracking process. The event is free.

Have your say

Don't let the frackers into your area. We are campaigning fiercely against them in Lancashire. The rigs are highly automated and so the promise of jobs is false - fracking will wreck the tourism industry in any area where it gains a foothold.

Posted by J Davies on 19 January 2013 at 19:23

" Fracking firms could find South Cumbria Attractive"? Of course they would, because it would not be allowed Down South, & they certainly dont give a toss about Cumbria! I suppose our community will just role over & take on the chin yet again?

Posted by wally ! on 17 January 2013 at 14:10

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