Paper No. 123-3
Presentation Time: 12:00 AM
NATURAL RESOURCES CANADA INDUCED SEISMICITY RESEARCH PROJECT: AN UPDATE
The development of unconventional oil and gas in North America has caused a significant increase of seismicity in areas of intense hydraulic fracturing and wastewater injection operations. These induced earthquakes have attracted considerable attention due to their potential seismic hazards. In 2012, Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) initiated the Induced Seismicity Research (ISR) Activity as part of the Shale Gas Research Project (Environmental Geoscience Program) to investigate the possible relationship between hydraulic fracturing (HF) of shale gas and the changing pattern of local seismicity. In 2015 the activity was expanded to include studies of all injection-related seismic events. The primary objective of NRCan’s ISR Project is to identify and fill critical knowledge gaps on the seismogenesis of induced earthquakes. Another important goal of ISR is to enhance regulatory performance by providing observation-based science and advice. NRCan’s ISR Project has three major tasks: 1) improve real-time earthquake-monitoring capability in major shale gas basins where current seismic coverage is sparse; 2) establish the baseline (pre-development) regional seismicity pattern for places where unconventional oil and gas is deemed likely to be developed in the near future.; and 3) conduct targeted studies on significant induced events to understand the relationship between their seismogenesis and man-made operations. Working closely with provincial and territorial governments, new real-time broadband seismograph stations have been installed in British Columbia (BC), Alberta (AB), New Brunswick (NB), Northwest Territories (NT), Quebec (QC), and Yukon Territory (YT). Studies of seismicity before, during, and after HF operations have been completed for the Horn River Basin in northeast BC, the Moncton and Sussex areas in southern NB, and the Norman Wells area of the central MacKenzie Valley, NT. Similar studies, with the addition of an InSAR component, are planned for the Montney play of BC and the Fox Creek area of AB. Detailed studies into recent M>4 events in BC and AB are currently underway (including the Mw4.6 Montney earthquake of August 17, 2015) examining source processes and ground motions to better understand the causes of induced seismicity and potential hazards.