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Factors influencing the probability of hydraulic fracturing induced seismicity in Oklahoma

July 21, 2020

Injection‐induced seismicity became an important issue over the past decade, and although much of the rise in seismicity is attributed to wastewater disposal, a growing number of cases have identified hydraulic fracturing (HF) as the cause. A recent study identified regions in Oklahoma where ≥75% of seismicity from 2010 to 2016 correlated with nearly 300 HF wells. To identify factors associated with increased probability of induced seismicity, we gathered publicly available information about the HF operations in these regions including: injected volume, number of wells on a pad, injected fluid (gel vs. slickwater), vertical depth of the well, proximity of the well to basement rock, and the formation into which the injection occurred. To determine the statistical strength of the trends, we applied logistic regression, bootstrapping, and odds ratios. We see no trend with total injected volume in our Oklahoma dataset, in contrast to strong trends observed in Alberta and Texas, but we note those regions have many more multiwell pads leading to larger cumulative volumes within a localized area. We found a >∼50% lower probability of seismicity with the use of gel compared to slickwater. We found that HF wells targeting older formations had a higher probability of seismicity; however, these wells also tend to be deeper, and we found the trend with well depth to be stronger than the trend with age of formation. When isolated to the Woodford formation, well depth produced the strongest relationship, increasing from ∼5%> to ∼50% probability from 1.5 to 5.5 km. However, no trend was seen in the proximity to basement parameter. Based on previously measured pore pressure gradients, we interpret the strong absolute depth relationship to be a result of the increasing formation overpressure measured in deeper portions of the basin that lower the stress change needed to induce seismicity.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2020
Title Factors influencing the probability of hydraulic fracturing induced seismicity in Oklahoma
DOI 10.1785/0120200105
Authors Rosamiel Ries, Michael R. Brudzinski, Robert Skoumal, Brian S. Currie
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America
Index ID 70214546
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Earthquake Science Center

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