Wednesday, September 30, 2015

States First Initiative Releases a Primer Providing Guidelines for Induced Seismicity Risk Management and Mitigation

On September 28, 2015, the Induced Seismicity Work Group formed as part of the States First Initiative published a study entitled “Potential Injection-Induced Seismicity Associated with Oil & Gas Development: A Primer on Technical and Regulatory Considerations Informing Risk Management and Mitigation.” This Primer provides recommendations for states and their regulatory agencies to responsibly manage and mitigate the effects of potential induced seismicity.

The authors primarily concentrated on earthquakes induced from disposal injection wells and opined that “hydraulic fracturing has a far lower potential to induce ‘felt’ earthquakes than underground disposal” contrary to popular opinion.

As part of their recommendations, they emphasized that local efforts for monitoring earthquakes along with state seismic monitoring programs provide better risk management and response strategies than do state efforts alone. The authors also suggested that state regulatory agencies should establish strong external communication and engagement toward the public as part of risk response strategies. As stated in the Primer, “[t]he agency should document how decisions were made and for what reasons during the event and then follow up with internal and external audiences about what was done well and what needs to be improved.” 

Written by Chloe Marie - Research Fellow

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