A swarm of twelve earthquakes has prompted a demonstration today outside an oil drilling site in Surrey. Campaigners are swooping enmasse to protest drilling at Horse Hill, and other sites in the south east linked to seismic disruption.
Simon Elster of the Weald Action Group said: "With oil and gas companies pumping hundreds of thousands of gallons of waste fluids underground, and others testing new wells, we are clearly seeing the seismic results." (1)
A group of senior geologists recently called for a moratorium while the earthquakes are investigated. In a letter published in the Times, academics from Edinburgh university, UCL and Imperial College London wrote: "A moratorium is urgently needed on hydrocarbon exploration in the area of Surrey recently affected by 12 earthquakes."
In the last six month Surrey has felt twelve earthquakes, the largest of which was 3.1 on the Richter scale. According to the British Geological Survey, which recently installed earthquake monitors in the area, the earthquakes occurred 200-700 metres below ground.
Campaigners claim oil and gas operations are the possible cause, and are the result of the recent drilling.
Simon Elster said: "We call for an moratorium and and immediate inspections of all wells to ensure their well integrity remains intact."
In Lancashire a gas company admitted to causing two earthquakes near Blackpool in 2011. This led the government to impose an informal moratorium. The earthquakes were 2.3 and 1.5 on the Richter scale.
Weblinks:www.drillordrop.comwww.davidsmythe.orgwww.brockhamoilwatch.orgwww.voiceforleithhill.co.uk1/ At a drill site near Brockham, Surrey, Angus Energy recently injected 600,000 gallons of wastewater into a well, an activity linked to earthquakes in the US. Meanwhile at nearby Horse Hill, UKOG are currently "flow testing", a process that involved pressuring the sub strata to assess underground reserves.
2/ "Surrey Quake Fears", the Times (attached), letter signed by Stuart Gifillian, senior lecturer in geochemistry, University of Edinburgh, Stuart Haseldine, professor of geology, University of Edinburgh, Bill McGuire, emeritus professor in geophysical and climate hazards, UCL, Richard Selley, emeritus professor of petroleum geology, Imperial College London