The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) has added guidelines to address the risk of fracking-induced earthquakes.
The industry group posted its voluntary operating practices in November 2012, nearly three months after a study by the British Columbia (B.C.) Oil and Gas Commission found that fracking for oil and natural gas caused a series of minor earthquakes in northeastern B.C. between 2009 and 2011.
Fracking, or fracturing, involves the underground injection of sand and chemicals into water under high pressure to allow natural gas or oil to flow from unproductive reservoirs.
According to CAPP, the new guidelines are called “Anomalous Induced Seismicity: Assessment, Monitoring, Mitigation and Response”.
CAPP is encouraging its members to assess the potential for quakes by making use of existing data and communicating with nearby operators.
“Given the unique geologies where hydraulic fracturing takes place, each hydraulic fracturing program or location requires a tailored approached that draws from this practice,” CAPP wrote in its guidelines.
This practice includes:
• assessing the potential for anomalous induced seismicity using available engineering, geologic and geophysical data
• complying with applicable regulatory requirements and employing sound wellbore construction practices.
Where assessment indicates the potential for anomalous induced seismicity exists:
• evaluating wellbore placement and drilling design to account for geologic conditions
• communicating with onsite personnel; establishing procedures and preparedness for the possibility of anomalous induced seismicity
• establishing procedures to monitor for induced seismicity during hydraulic fracturing operations
• establishing procedures to mitigate and respond to anomalous induced seismicity.
Companies should have a plan in place to respond to fracking-induced earthquakes if they do happen, CAPP explained.