Regulatory monitoring of UK onshore hydraulic fracturing operations

Posted by pkm at Mar 06, 2015 01:10 PM |
Anna Horleston, Alan Baird, J-Michael Kendall, Anna Stork, James Verdon & James Wookey – School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol

Operators wishing to perform onshore hydraulic fracturing in the UK must adhere to strict regulations relating to induced seismicity. These include a “traffic light” system limiting operations such that induced seismic events remain below ML = 0.5. To implement this scheme a clear baseline of seismicity must be established and accurate magnitudes must be calculable. We have been working on techniques for baseline monitoring using broadband seismometers more traditionally used for academic studies. The broadband nature allows for better magnitude calculations than those available from short period geophones.  Here we show how a small array of broadband sensors can be used to effectively establish baseline seismicity down to ML = 0 or below, we give examples of best deployment methods and outline data processing work flows. We will also outline the challenges of monitoring such small events in a culturally noisy environment, for example, a typical passenger train passing 150m from a seismometer was equivalent to a ML = 1.5 earthquake at 2.5km hypocentral distance.

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