Abstract

Seismicity is correlated in space and time with production from some oil and gas fields where pore pressures have declined by several tens of megapascals. Reverse faulting has occurred both above and below petroleum reservoirs, and normal faulting has occurred on the flanks of at least one reservoir. The theory of poroelasticity requires that fluid extraction locally alter the state of stress. Calculations with simple geometries predict stress perturbations that are consistent with observed earthquake locations and focal mechanisms. Measurements of surface displacement and strain, pore pressure, stress, and poroelastic rock properties in such areas could be used to test theoretical predictions and improve our understanding of earthquake mechanics.

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