Minister ‘misleads’ over fracking, Energy Minister John Hayes has been accused of misrepresenting a Durham University study after he claimed it concluded fracking could not contaminate drinking water by Louise Gray, December 26, 2012, The Telegraph
In an interview on Radio 5 Live, Mr Hayes, said “the idea that that water will get into the main water table has been categorically denied”. “The claim that the water used in fracking gets into the aquifer was categorically refuted by the Durham University study earlier this year,” he said. However Prof Richard Davies, who led the study, said the water table can be contaminated if the drilling is too close to the water table. “We have not proved it could not happen, what we have shown is the safety distance,” he said. The study published in the journal Marine and Petroleum Geology found the chance of a fracture extending more than 600 metres upwards, so that gas could travel upwards into the aquifer, was exceptionally low. Prof Davis therefore said the safety limit should be around double that, at around 1.2km. “Like anything there are safety limits and if you play rough and ready there could be an incident,” he added.
In Balcombe, West Sussex, where the bore is half a mile from the River Ouse and three quarters of a mile from the Ardingly reservoir, Cuadrilla intend to drill at around half that depth, which would bring acid, biocides, radioactive isotopes etc., back to within 720ft of the surface and in close proximity to the aquifers. Water finds water. “Such selective omissions by Ministers make it manifestly clear that such authorities are not fit to regulate this dangerous industry.” Andrew West of Frack Off agreed that the minister was misleading. He said communities are at risk both from leaks and shale gas reservoirs that are closer to aquifers. [Emphasis added]
[Refer also to: Fracking fouls water
Fracking requires a minimum distance of at least 0.6 kilometres from sensitive rock strata Researchers from Durham University, Cardiff University and the University of Tromsø looked at thousands of natural and induced fractures from the US, Europe and Africa. … Fracture heights are important as fractures have been cited as possible underground pathways for deep sources of methane to contaminate drinking water. … Professor Richard Davies, Director of Durham Energy Institute, Durham University, said: “Based on our observations, we believe that it may be prudent to adopt a minimum vertical separation distance for stimulated fracturing in shale reservoirs. Such a distance should be set by regulators; our study shows that for new exploration areas where there is no existing data, it should be significantly in excess of 0.6 km. ]