By Mark Hume | The Globe and Mail
A study by the BC Oil and Gas Commission that has linked hydraulic fracturing with swarms of small earthquakes is not likely to lead to any significant restrictions on drilling activity, according to industry and regulatory officials.
But new guidelines, increased seismic monitoring and more research will occur because of the investigation by the commission, which linked oil and gas activity in the Horn River Basin to a flurry of earthquake activity between 2009 and 2011.
Ken Paulson, chief operating officer for the commission, said the seismic events – triggered by fracking activities in which fluid was injected underground to fracture shale deposits and release gas – were all so small that only one of them was felt by people in the area.
Many were so small that they weren’t even picked up by federal seismic-monitoring stations, although they were recorded by dense arrays of sensors installed by researchers in some areas of the gas fields in northeast B.C.
Mr. Paulson said none of the 272 earthquakes recorded during the study period were of a magnitude large enough to raise environmental or public-safety concerns.
He said, however, that more research into the subject will be undertaken and closer monitoring of seismic events will take place in B.C.’s oil and gas fields.