New tech helps operators meet fracking regulations affordably

New technology from Weir-Jones and Associates of Vancouver, BC, Canada, is helping oil and gas companies and regulators deal with the possible side effects of fracking and other unconventional oil and gas production, in particular induced seismic activity.

QuakeMonitor™ is a cost effective SmartSensor®-based system that is easy to deploy and efficient to operate. It is designed for oil and gas operators who want to minimise the risk of mandated operational shutdowns, and regulatory penalties, resulting from the inducing of seismicity during fracking or fluid disposal.

“The system gives operators the tools to remain compliant with the recent proliferation of protective regulations, while providing information to remediate their operations if and when required,” says Iain Weir-Jones, President and founder of Weir-Jones Engineering Ltd., which has made the system available in conjunction with GeoEnergy Monitoring Systems, GeoEMS, Inc. of Los Alamos, New Mexico.

QuakeMonitor, is a standalone system designed, developed, and implemented by a team of earth scientists and engineers who have worked in the induced seismicity monitoring and regulatory sectors in the US, Canada, and overseas for more than forty years. It provides all stakeholders with greater peace of mind by ensuring that fracking operations are undertaken in a responsible manner in compliance with regulatory requirements.

In Alberta, Canada, where fracking operations are believed to have caused a significant increase in the number of induced earthquakes, regulations have been introduced that requires frack operators to monitor all seismic activity and to report any local magnitude events greater than 2 and stop operations over 4. Many other jurisdictions – including, British Columbia in Canada, Ohio and Oklahoma in the US, Western Australia and Holland - have either banned fracking or introduced regulations mandating steep penalties should oil and gas producers cause damage or fail to report potentially damaging seismic activities.

QuakeMonitor identifies and reports induced seismic activity back to an operator in near real time, typically less than 3 minutes, using the systems onboard processing capabilities, sending out either email or text alerts to an operator and to a pre-determined list of employees or relevant third parties.

"Induced Seismicity Monitoring does not have to be someone's science project" says Dr. Steven Taylor of GeoEMS/Weir-Jones and Associates. “Rather, to get the job done a single sensor or possibly a small network of sensors (for location) placed on the surface are all that is necessary. Incorporating a minimum of three stations will monitor the magnitudes and location within a region. A single station setup will be able to detect the event distance and magnitude but not provide the location.”

The operator specific frack monitoring service provided by Weir-Jones and Associates starts at about US$3000 per month, this includes the equipment, monitoring and near real time reporting of all relevant seismic activity. It is a fraction of the cost of current systems; in addition, installation time and costs are vastly reduced. Setup can be completed in an hour or less, and no special equipment, material, or tools are required.

Adapted from a press release by David Bizley

Published on 12/10/2015

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