AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition

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Induced Seismicity in Oil and Gas Operations: Recent Activity, Monitoring and Regulations


In 2012 the National Research Council published a study “Induced Seismicity Potential in Energy Technologies”1 which reviewed the occurrence of earthquakes with various energy operations, including oil and gas waste water disposal and hydraulic fracturing. The report found only two documented examples of felt earthquakes related to hydraulic fracturing. Since the report was published, the rate of suspected induced earthquakes related to oil and gas operations has continued to rise. Hydraulic fracturing earthquakes in multiple areas of British Columbia, reported after the release of the NRC report, suggest in special cases that hydraulic fracturing is capable of producing earthquakes that can be felt on the surface. Additional reports and analysis of suspected induced earthquakes from both waste water injection wells and hydraulic fracturing operations have been reported in many states in the USA, including Kansas, Colorado, Texas, Ohio and in particular, Oklahoma, which has experienced a continued and dramatic rise in suspected induced earthquakes. This presentation will discuss recent occurrences of induced seismicity related to oil and gas operations and the seismic monitoring techniques used to understand the issue, along with new and proposed regulations suggested by authorities in the affected areas to ensure continued safe operations.