Modeling of fault reactivation and induced seismicity during hydraulic fracturing of shale gas reservoirs

Rutqvist et al. Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering. July 2013.

Summary

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, in consultation with the EPA, used computer models to simulate fault reactivation and induced seismicity during hydraulic fracturing of shale gas reservoirs. The simulations indicate that hydraulic fracturing may give rise to slightly larger microseismic events when faults are present than without faults present. The possibility of induced fractures at great depth (thousands of meters) causing activation of faults and creation of a new flow path that can reach shallow ground water resources is remote. Nevertheless, the modeling suggests fault reactivation can spread outside of the pressurized zone. The results of this article, combined with other information, will inform the draft assessment report on the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources. 

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