Methane detected near Preston New Road shale gas operation in Lancashire

Rock specimen of shale (P521463)

Methane has been detected at the BGS-University of Manchester greenhouse gas monitoring station near Cuadrilla’s shale gas operations at Preston New Road, near Little Plumpton, Lancashire.

Enhanced methane concentration in the air east of the Cuadrilla site was recorded on 7th December 2018 and again between 11th and 17th January 2019. Analysis of the monitoring data indicates that this was due to the emission of non-combusted methane from the shale gas site.

The peak concentration of methane observed, which was in the January 2019 emission, exceeded 10,000 parts per billion (ppb). To put this into context, the typical atmospheric concentration of methane in this area has been observed to be in the range 1857 to 2544 (ppb).

The monitoring being carried out is part of the BGS-led environmental monitoring project which is jointly funded the BGS’s National Capability programme and a grant awarded by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

This project represents the first independent, integrated monitoring programme set up to characterise the environmental baseline and any subsequent changes in areas where shale gas development is taking place. The monitoring has continued the first hydraulic fracturing operations at the Preston New Road shale gas site.

Data analysis in the report was conducted by Dr Jacob Shaw (University of Manchester) with Dr Grant Allen (University of Manchester) who was responsible for the supervision of the greenhouse gas component of the environmental monitoring project. Professor Rob Ward (BGS) is overall project manager.

Download report:

Methane enhancements detected at Little Plumpton air monitoring site

Download the methane data:

Methane data from Little Plumpton 01-12-18 to 17-02-19

Project web pages:

Environmental baseline monitoring in Lancashire

Link to Frequently Asked Questions:

Lancashire Monitoring Programme FAQs

For further information contact:

Dr Grant Allen, University of Manchester




27 February 2019