New Energy Research is a ‘Significant Step Forward’ in Improving Induced Seismicity Knowledge in Northeast BC

 Vancouver, BC – August 11, 2022 – New research examining the relationship between natural gas development and earthquakes (induced seismicity) in British Columbia’s Northeast Region has identified three key factors that determine earthquake strength, as well as making monitoring data publicly available.

Focussing on the region’s Kiskatinaw Seismic Monitoring and Mitigation Area (KSMMA), where much of BC’s natural gas development takes place, the research used data from seismic monitoring stations in and around the region, including extending funding for eight stations originally managed by McGill University (the ‘McGill Array’).

Called A Comprehensive Investigation of Injection-Induced Earthquakes in Northeastern British Columbia Canada, the research found that key factors influencing the magnitude of induced seismicity are the type of injection; structural geology; and in the case of hydraulic fracturing, the specific Montney zone completed. The findings and public data can be used by industry and regulators to reduce the occurrence and likely magnitude of induced seismicity. They can also be used by communities and Indigenous groups in BC’s northeast to better understand and inform decisions regarding natural gas development.

Commenting on the research, Geoscience BC Manager, Energy and Water Randy Hughes said: "This is a significant step forward in the understanding of injection induced seismicity events in BC’s Northeast Region. Acquiring such a comprehensive catalogue of seismic events and applying machine learning to it has led to an enhanced understanding of the relationship between natural gas development and seismicity in the region.”

The research was led by Dr. Honn Kao of the Geological Survey of Canada, who is also an adjunct professor at the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of Victoria, with contributions from Natural Resource Canada, McGill University, Ruhr University Bochum, the BC Oil & Gas Commission, and geoLOGIC Systems Ltd.  Items published as part of the report include real-time public data, two earthquake catalogues covering 2017 to 2020 "that includes earthquake locating details using artificial intelligence applications, and ten research papers. All are available on the Geoscience BC website.

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To view the reports and maps, visit the project page or view the information on Geoscience BC's Earth Science Viewer online mapping application.

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