Brine blast cause still a puzzle

brinewell blowout
brinewell blowout

A QUESTION mark continues to hang over the cause of this summer’s brinewell blast which resulted in tonnes of salty mud gushing onto a field and country lane at Preesall,

Landowners Halite Energy, the company behind the area’s controversial gas store plan, called in the police to probe their fears several weeks after the incident, which happened on June 18.

Police now say they have found “no verifiable evidence either way to suggest whether a crime has or has not been committed.”

Halite boss, Keith Budinger said he appreciated “that from their (the police’s) perspective, there is insufficient evidence at this stage to take matters further.”

He also said the incident was not linked to geological failure.

Mr Budinger said: “The detailed work we have undertaken to date demonstrates that the blow out was not the result of a geological failure. The cavern at brine well 45 is stable and the cavern roof and cavern floor remain intact and unchanged, removing concerns around any future cavern collapse or ground subsidence in the adjacent area.

“Our investigations into the cause of the blow out are therefore ongoing.”

Halite’s board is now considering the findings of the police probe.

The company promised its technical assessment would be made public later this week, but said it was unable to release information about the evidence it gave to the police about its sabotage fears, adding “should further information come to light, the investigations will be re-opened.”

“Safety and security is our number one priority and any information indicating a deliberate attempt to cause a dangerous incident of this kind was and will be treated extremely seriously.”

Pressed about alleged delays on reporting its concerns about sabotage, a Halite spokesperson said the company’s immediate priority after the incident had been on establishing the safety. Halite said information had come to light after July 6, and the company contacted the police about on July 21.

A police spokesman said: “Unless new substantive evidence comes to light, we have concluded our investigation.”

• Concerns about a single trespasser who has moved a horse and caravan onto Halite-owned land near Stalmine, have been voiced by residents. The man has been contacted by council enforcement officers.