Open File Report 2013-16

Open File Report 2013-16

OFR 2013-16

A Review of the Potential Correlation between Low-Magnitude Earthquakes and Oil and Gas Industry Activity in Alberta

Author(s) Haug, K. Dongas, J.M. Warren, J.E. Date 2014-03-18

This study examines the potential spatial and temporal correlations in Alberta between low-magnitude earthquakes occurring between 2006 and 2010 and oil and gas industry activity. Wells that were subjected to hydraulic fracturing, water disposal, water injection, and acid-gas injection were used in the correlation study.

Based on the data available, no correlation between earthquakes and hydraulic fracturing performed from 2006 to 2010 was found.

For water disposal wells, the temporal correlation is more complex to constrain since pore pressures increase over time and could cause sufficient stress change to reactivate a fault. Therefore, a correlation between earthquakes from 2006 through 2010 and water disposal wells in Alberta may be possible. In particular, two water disposal wells (00/06-33-037-09W5 and 00/10-25-043-16W5) were located within 10 km of significant seismic event clusters. A more detailed analysis of injection rates and pressures of these wells may help further establish a correlation.

There were only two acid-gas injection wells that were within a 20 km radius of a seismic event and it is unlikely that the acid-gas storage sites have been adversely affected by seismicity.

Haug, K.M., Dongas, J.M. and Warren, J.E. (2014): A review of the potential correlation between low-magnitude earthquakes and oil and gas industry activity in Alberta; Alberta Energy Regulator, AER/AGS Open File Report 2013-16, 43 p.