The only company carrying out shale gas exploration in the UK has today admitted that it was “highly probable” that drilling at one of its wells caused a number of seismic incidents.

Cuadrilla Resources had been drilling in Lancashire for more than a year before the seismic activity near at Poulton-le-Fylde in April and May forced it to stop, pending an investigation by a team of independent European seismic experts.

Now that report has concluded that “the seismic events were due to an unusual combination of geology at the well site coupled with the pressure exerted by water injection as part of operations”.

But Cuadrilla maintains that “this combination of geological factors was extremely rare and would be unlikely to occur together again at future well sites”.

Chief executive Mark Miller said: “We are ready to put in place the early detection system that has been proposed in the report so that we can provide additional confidence and security to the local community. Cuadrilla is working with the relevant local and national authorities to implement the report’s recommendations so we may safely resume our operations.”

Meanwhile, drilling which is still ongoing at another Cuadrilla site, in Merseyside, was halted by anti-shale gas protestors today. Demonstrators climbed a drilling rig in Southport in a protest they claimed would last all day.

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