New Northeast Earthquake Research is “Key to Responsible Development”

Vancouver, BC - December 11, 2019 - Mayor of Dawson Creek Dale Bumstead has said that a series of four new Geoscience BC research projects to generate new public science about the relationship between earthquakes and natural gas development is key to sustainable development in northeast British Columbia.

Additional research related to earthquakes caused by natural gas development – known as induced seismicity – is one of four research focus areas recommended in the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources’ March 2019 Scientific Review of Hydraulic Fracturing in British Columbia report.

Commenting on the new research projects, Mayor Bumstead said: “We need good science and good data to have confidence that development in and around our communities is being done right. It’s a key part of responsible development.”

“Geoscience BC has been creating new public data and information about the relationship between natural gas well completions and induced seismicity in northeast BC since 2012,” said Geoscience BC Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer Carlos Salas. “The Scientific Review of Hydraulic Fracturing in British Columbia and a Geoscience BC open request for research proposals process have helped us to prioritize the new research that is needed.”

An overview of the new research projects is available here. The four new projects are:

  • Understanding and Mitigating Induced Seismicity Risk in the Kiskatinaw Area, BC (D. Eaton, University of Calgary) (Project 2019-005)
    This project installs and monitors a closely spaced network of seismographs in the Kiskatinaw area of BC’s Northeast Region to provide higher quality data about the location of induced seismic events, to better detect smaller events and to improve understanding of how faults respond to hydraulic fracturing.

    View project page     View project area in Earth Science Viewer

  • Comprehensive Investigation of Injection-Induced Earthquakes in Northeastern British Columbia (H. Kao, University of Victoria) (Project 2019-007)
    This project manages a network of nine seismographs that monitor ground motion which was previously installed for a McGill University project (the ‘McGill Array’) in BC’s Northeast Region. Geoscience BC funding maintains the network, allows additional research and will make data available in real-time, to all researchers.

View project page     View project area in Earth Science Viewer

  • Statistical Assessment of Operational Risks for Induced Seismicity from Hydraulic Fracturing in the Montney, Northeast BC (Enlighten Geoscience) (Project 2019-008)
    This project aims to determine some of the factors that can influence induced seismicity in the Montney Play in the Northeast Region of BC. It uses statistical methods to analyze public data from natural gas completion activities with information about the geology to predict earthquakes resulting from natural gas development based on previous events.

    View project page        View project area in Earth Science Viewer

  • Development of an Induced Seismicity Susceptibility Framework and Map for NEBC using an Integrated Machine Learning and Mechanistic Validation Approach (E. Eberhardt, UBC) (Project 2019-014)
    This project combines multiple datasets in a machine learning setting, together with laboratory experiments and numerical simulations, to model the relationship between natural gas operations, geology and seismic activity in the Montney Play in BC’s Northeast Region.

    View project page        View project area in Earth Science Viewer

The four new projects are the result of an open request for proposals (RFP) issued by Geoscience BC in June 2019. Each of the projects was reviewed by a committee of independent subject matter experts and recommended by Geoscience BC’s volunteer Oil & Gas Technical Advisory Committee before being approved by the Geoscience BC Board of Directors.

Support for New Induced Seismicity Research
Ken Paulson, Chief Operating Officer, BC Oil and Gas Commission: “The BC Oil and Gas Commission was the first regulator in North America to link hydraulic fracturing with induced seismicity in 2012. Since then we have worked closely with Geoscience BC and other researchers in establishing BC as a leader in the regulation of induced seismicity in the oil and gas sector.”

Geoff Morrison, Manager, British Columbia, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers: “Canada’s oil and natural gas industry supports the studies by Geoscience BC. We’re confident they will add to the existing body of reliable science and data, which industry and the regulator can use to further improve performance, grow our understanding and help us mitigate environmental and social impacts.”

About Geoscience BC

Geoscience BC generates independent, public geoscience research and data about British Columbia’s minerals, energy and water resources. This advances knowledge, informs responsible development, encourages investment and stimulates innovation.

Our collaboration with the resource sectors, academia, communities, Indigenous groups and government develops and shares unbiased and credible earth science research and data.

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For more information, please contact:

Richard Truman
Geoscience BC
604-662-4147 / 778-929-1662 /