To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Environment Agency has investigated any potential or actual cases of water contamination at onshore oil and gas drilling sites operated by Cuadrilla Resources since 2011; and if she will make a statement.
25 November 2014
Preese Hall in Lancashire has been the only shale gas exploration well operated by Cuadrilla Resources to be drilled and hydraulically fractured to date. The Environment Agency carried out regular site monitoring and inspections to ensure it was satisfied that any environmental risks were being effectively managed. There have been no reports or any evidence of water contamination at Preese Hall.
In 2013, in the vicinity of Cuadrilla’s oil exploration well site in Balcombe, West Sussex, the Environment Agency investigated a local stream that turned fluorescent green. Analysis of the water samples detected ammoniacal nitrogen, butyl citrate and caffeine, all in very low concentrations. None of these substances have been used in drilling additives by Cuadrilla. The Environment Agency concluded that the green water was likely to be caused by the introduction of a dye into the stream, but the exact source remains unknown. Cuadrilla did not store or use any type of dye at Balcombe. The Environment Agency confirmed there was no environmental impact.