Hydraulic fracturing and other underground energy production and storage techniques can, but rarely do, produce earthquakes large enough for people to feel, according to a study released Friday.
It examined the seismic impact of energy industry techniques for injecting or removing fluid underground amid growing public concern about earthquakes near oil and gas work sites in several states, including Texas.
The report, titled “Induced Seismicity Potential in Energy Technologies,” was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and conducted by the National Research Council. The independent nonprofit group looked at various factors that could connect energy techniques to earthquakes, including an activity's proximity to faults and properties of the subsurface rock.
The balance of fluid removed from and injected into the earth was the factor most directly correlated to earthquake activity, the researchers concluded.
Techniques that inject and extract fluid underground, including hydraulic fracturing, can maintain a relative balance of subsurface pressure and are less likely to cause quakes, the report noted.
Hydraulic fracturing, a much-debated technique for producing oil and natural gas by flushing large amounts of high-pressure fluids deep underground, was connected to a magnitude-2.8 earthquake in Oklahoma, the only confirmed quake linked to fracturing in the United States, the report said.Read the rest of this article here.
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