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Managing basin-scale fluid budgets to reduce injection-induced seismicity from the recent U.S. shale oil revolution

Bridget R. Scanlon, Matthew B. Weingarten, Kyle E. Murray and Robert C. Reedy
Managing basin-scale fluid budgets to reduce injection-induced seismicity from the recent U.S. shale oil revolution
Seismological Research Letters (October 2018) 90 (1): 171-182

Abstract

With the U.S. unconventional oil revolution, adverse impacts from subsurface disposal of coproduced water, such as induced seismicity, have markedly increased, particularly in Oklahoma. Here, we adopt a new, more holistic analysis by linking produced water (PW) volumes, disposal, and seismicity in all major U.S. unconventional oil plays (Bakken, Eagle Ford, and Permian plays, and Oklahoma) and provide guidance for long-term management. Results show that monthly PW injection volumes doubled across the plays since 2009. We show that the shift in PW disposal to nonproducing geologic zones related to low-permeability unconventional reservoirs is a fundamental driver of induced seismicity. We statistically associate seismicity in Oklahoma to (1) PW injection rates, (2) cumulative PW volumes, and (3) proximity to basement with updated data through 2017. The major difference between intensive seismicity in Oklahoma versus low seismicity levels in the Bakken, Eagle Ford, and Permian Basin plays is attributed to proximity to basement with deep injection near basement in Oklahoma relative to shallower injection distant from basement in other plays. Directives to mitigate Oklahoma seismicity are consistent with our findings: reducing (1) PW injection rates and (2) regional injection volumes by 40% relative to the 2014 total in wells near the basement, which resulted in a 70% reduction in the number of M> or =3.0 earthquakes in 2017 relative to the 2015 peak seismicity. Understanding linkages between PW management and seismicity allows us to develop a portfolio of strategies to reduce future adverse impacts of PW management, including reuse of PW for hydraulic fracturing in the oil and gas sector.


ISSN: 0895-0695
EISSN: 1938-2057
Serial Title: Seismological Research Letters
Serial Volume: 90
Serial Issue: 1
Title: Managing basin-scale fluid budgets to reduce injection-induced seismicity from the recent U.S. shale oil revolution
Affiliation: University of Texas at Austin, Bureau of Economic Geology, Austin, TX, United States
Pages: 171-182
Published: 20181031
Text Language: English
Publisher: Seismological Society of America, El Cerrito, CA, United States
References: 44
Accession Number: 2019-003641
Categories: Seismology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 2 tables, sketch maps
N33°34'60" - N37°00'00", W103°00'00" - W94°25'00"
N25°45'00" - N36°30'00", W106°30'00" - W93°30'00"
Secondary Affiliation: San Diego State University, USA, United StatesOklahoma Geological Survey, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2019, American Geosciences Institute. Abstract, Copyright, Seismological Society of America. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States
Update Code: 201904
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