induced seismicity

government regulations and industry best practices minimize risk of induced seismicity

Rolling hills in Alberta, Canada

Induced seismicity is seismicity caused by human activity. It has been associated with several industrial practices such as dam building, mining and hydraulic fracturing.

The energy released by hydraulic fracturing or injections into wells can trigger movement along existing fault lines, leading to induced seismic events. An induced seismicity event linked with hydraulic fracturing is usually considered a micro-seismic event, which means it registers with a magnitude of less than 3 on the Richter Scale. This magnitude is rarely noticed and the risk of damage or injury is very low.

In Alberta and British Columbia, energy companies must follow strict regulations aimed at reducing the risk of induced seismicity related to their operations. Chevron Canada complies with all government regulations and meets or exceeds industry best practices.

how we manage induced seismicity

  • We perform subsurface studies to address the seismic risks associated with our operations. This includes geo-mechanical modeling and design of our fracturing treatments to ensure the fracture growth is confined to our target zone.
  • We complete a detailed risk assessment and submit a response plan to the regulator for use if a seismic event were to occur.
  • We use seismic monitoring equipment to monitor for induced seismicity during hydraulic fracturing operations.
  • In Alberta we follow the Alberta Energy Regulator’s traffic light system to mitigate risks.
Alberta Energy Regulator seismicity rating system

supporting canadian research on seismicity and hydraulic fracturing

Chevron Canada supports independent, science-based research and shares our data with the academic community.

Current Canadian research into the links between seismicity and hydraulic fracturing is growing. All of the studies indicate that the risk of hydraulic fracturing causing a seismic event that can be felt on the surface is low and that events greater than a magnitude of three are rare.