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Induced Seismicity Research Theme

Key Researcher(s):  A. Fox, S. McKean, N. Watson, D. Eaton, E. Eberhardt, H. Kao

Project ID(s):  2019-005, 2019-007, 2019-008, 2019-014

Key Research Organization(s):  Enlighten Geoscience Ltd., University of British Columbia, University of Calgary, University of Victoria

Project Location:  Northeast BC

Strategic Focus Area:  Energy-Oil and Gas

Summary



One of Geoscience BC’s strategic objectives relating to energy research is Facilitating Responsible Natural Resource Development. This includes the goal to “maintain joint research with partners examining seismicity induced by hydraulic fracturing in northeastern BC to provide new science to better understand induced seismicity, mitigate risks and further improve regulation and industry practices”. This page introduces four research projects launched in December 2019 to investigate the relationship between earthquakes and natural gas development in the Montney Play in BC’s Northeast Region.

View Launch News Release

Geoscience BC has been funding induced seismicity research in BC’s Northeast Region since 2012. Completed and ongoing projects include:



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Understanding and Mitigating Induced Seismicity Risk in the Kiskatinaw Area, BC

This project installs and monitors a closely spaced network of seismographs in the Kiskatinaw area of British Columbia’s Northeast Region to generate real-time, public data.

The project is one of a series of for four research projects launched in December 2019 to further investigate how and why, in certain circumstances, earthquakes can be caused by hydraulic fracturing and wastewater disposal during natural gas development.

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Development of an Induced Seismicity Susceptibility Framework and Map for NEBC using an Integrated Machine Learning and Mechanistic Validation Approach


Research Statement

Numerous factors influence the potential for hydraulic fracturing and wastewater disposal to cause earthquakes, a phenomenon known as induced seismicity. The main factors controlling induced seismicity include the current state of stress within the earth; the presence, size, type and orientation of faults; the amount and rate at which fluid is injected; and the amount of sand being pumped into the open fractures. In rare cases, induced seismicity is strong enough to be felt at the surface.

Understanding the complex interplay between the controlling factors in induced seismicity will be key to reduction and mitigation. Predicting how different areas may be affected by induced seismicity requires further study.

New research is needed to better understand when, where and why induced seismicity occurs and will inform industry, government and communities so that the likelihood of future induced seismicity can be reduced.

Geoscience BC’s seismicity research is guided by subject matter experts (SMEs), our Oil & Gas Technical Advisory Committee and Board of Directors, and the findings of the following studies:

All Geoscience BC research is public, and is peer reviewed before publication.

Benefits

New research to better understand when, where and why induced seismicity occurs will inform natural resource decision making by industry, government and communities, in order to reduce the likelihood of future induced seismicity and to boost investor confidence.

Location Details

The Montney Play, a gas-prone area within the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin in BC’s Northeast Region that contains some of North America’s most significant natural gas deposits.