Dear British Geological Survey,

Please treat this email as a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, alternatively the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

A report in ‘DrillorDrop’ online journal dated 26th August highlights warnings given by Grant Hocking, (President of the US energy and environmental company GeoSierra LLC) prior to the recent seismic events related to Cuadrilla’s fracking site at Preston New Road in Lancashire. The link to the article is here https://drillordrop.com/2019/08/26/tremo...

The essence of the report is that GeoSierra’s understanding of the available data points to a poor interpretation of the geology and failure of the operator to control BHP (bottom hole pressure) or manage the issue of slicken-sided bedding planes. The advice was that attempting to stimulate PNR-2 well in the manner proposed carried a heightened risk of induced seismicity.

GeoSierra’s website confirms the above, referencing discussions held with Cuadrilla and noting that it gave advice to UK Regulatory Agencies after similar experiences at PNR in 2018. It also makes claims that ‘GeoSierra notified the relevant UK agencies, (Environment Agency, Oil & Gas Authority, and the British Geological Survey) and Cuadrilla of the above issues and the significant risks of induced seismicity in early August 2019, prior to the start of hydraulic fracturing of the PNR-2 well.’

Would you please provide the following information:-

1. What communications were received by the BGS from GeoSierra during the early part of August 2019, prior to the commencement of fracking of the PNR-2 well on August 15th?
2. What actions were taken to review and respond to comments and advice given therein?
3. Specifically, what (if any) communication with Cuadrilla took place in response to these communications and what conclusions were drawn?
4. Were the comments received from GeoSierra subsequently notified by the BGS to any other Regulatory Authority or Government Agency and what discussions took place?
5. At what point was it concluded that the GeoSierra comments should not prevent commencement of fracking at PNR-2 and at what level of the organisation was that decision taken?
6. What reply was given to GeoSierra and when?

Please provide copies of all relevant correspondence.

Yours faithfully,

Richard Bales

enquiries, British Geological Survey

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enquiries, British Geological Survey

Dear Richard

Our ref: IDA 271045

Thank you for your request made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Environmental Information Regulations 2004. Since your request concerns environmental information we will be handling it under the terms of the Environmental Information Regulations. We normally expect to reply within the standard time period of twenty working days but under complex circumstances it could take up to forty working days. We will let you know if this is the case as soon as possible.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any queries about this request and please quote the reference number above in any future communications.

Rachel Cartwright MSc MCLIP
Enquiry Service Manager
British Geological Survey
Keyworth
Nottingham
NG12 5GG

Tel: 0115 936 3143
[British Geological Survey request email]
www.bgs.ac.uk

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enquiries, British Geological Survey

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Bales

 

Our ref: IDA 271045

 

Thank you for your request made under the Environmental Information
Regulations 2004 (EIR).  Please find the answers to your questions below:

 

1.       What communications were received by the BGS from GeoSierra
during the early part of August 2019, prior to the commencement of
fracking of the PNR-2 well on August 15th?

 

BGS has received emails from GeoSierra during this period, sent to one
member of BGS staff:

•                     email on the 12th August 2019. This email entitled
"Preston New Road PNR-2 Hydraulic Fracture Viscous Gel Fluid Chemistry"
was addressed (in the body of the email) to the Environment Agency.

•                     email on August 15th entitled "Cuadrilla Preston New
Road Hydraulic Fracturing Operations". This was addressed to journalists
at The Times and The Guardian newspapers.

 

2.       What actions were taken to review and respond to comments and
advice given therein?

 

No action was taken to respond to these emails as they were not
specifically addressed to the BGS.

 

3.       Specifically, what (if any) communication with Cuadrilla took
place in response to these communications and what conclusions were drawn?

 

There was no correspondence with Cuadrilla in response to these emails.

 

4.       Were the comments received from GeoSierra subsequently notified
by the BGS to any other Regulatory Authority or Government Agency and what
discussions took place?

 

BGS did not notify any other regulatory authority as they had already been
copied in to the emails and one was being directly addressed.

 

5.       At what point was it concluded that the GeoSierra comments should
not prevent commencement of fracking at PNR-2 and at what level of the
organisation was that decision taken?

 

BGS is not a regulatory authority and does not makes decisions of this
nature.

 

6.       What reply was given to GeoSierra and when?

 

No reply was sent to GeoSierra as none of the correspondence was directly
addressed to BGS

 

Please provide copies of all relevant correspondence.

 

Emails received are attached. Personal information has been redacted under
Regulation 12(3) and Regulation 13 of the EIR. Regulation 12(3) provides
that third party personal data can only be disclosed in accordance with
Regulation 13.  Specifically regulation 13(1) provides an exception for
information which is the personal data of an individual other than the
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Regards

 

Rachel

 

Rachel Cartwright MSc MCLIP

Enquiry Service Manager

British Geological Survey

Keyworth

Nottingham

NG12 5GG

 

Tel: 0115 936 3143

[2][British Geological Survey request email]

[3]www.bgs.ac.uk

 

 

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