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Monitoring and Regulating Induced Seismicity

The BC Energy Regulator (BCER) has taken a leadership role in the detection and oversight of induced seismicity associated with unconventional gas development. Requirements are in place, including seismicity hazard assessments prior to hydraulic fracturing including plans for real-time monitoring and mitigations, suspension of industry operations if seismic activity reaches a certain threshold, the measurement of ground motion and special project orders that require community engagement. The BCER routinely reviews all available data to monitor for potential occurrences of induced seismicity and has on-going research and collaboration with industry, academia and other agencies in the field of induced seismicity.

The BCER has a seismic monitoring array in northeast B.C. that is strictly focused on events in this region. This includes over 40 seismometers that record events for the analysis of the location and magnitude of seismic events.

Northeast B.C. Seismicity Map

This map displays recent and past seismic events of greater than local magnitude 1.5 that were recorded in the northeast region of British Columbia.

Seismic events are analyzed by the BC Seismic Consortium, which is a joint partnership between the BCER, Geoscience BC and The BC Oil and Gas Research and Innovation Society.

Click on the map below to launch in full view:

Seismicity map preview

  • Local Magnitude (ML): The BC Energy Regulator has adopted local magnitude (ML) as the magnitude standard for northeast B.C. (NEBC) and for regulatory decisions. This standard was derived specifically for the characteristics of northeast B.C.’s geology. Learn more about the adoption of local magnitude determination
  • Unconventional play trends: Unconventional play trends depict the general location and extent of hydrocarbon resources found in densely packed, fine-grained rock layers. This map focuses on the Montney Trend as this is the region that is the focus of over 95% of oil and gas activity in NEBC currently and the trend along which induced events are most common.
  • Seismic monitoring areas: The Montney resource has been divided by the Regulator into two primary areas for the understanding of induced seismicity. These are the Kiskatinaw Seismic Monitoring and Mitigation Area (KSMMA) and the North Peace Ground Motion Monitoring Area (NPGMMA), which differ in their geological and seismic characteristics, and are separated by an area of little seismicity.

Well types:

  • Disposal wells: Wells that are authorized for the disposal of waste fluids deep underground.
  • Drilling wells: Wells that are currently being drilled or that are in the drilling phase.
  • Fracturing wells: Wells that are being actively stimulated or hydraulically fractured in preparation for producing natural gas.
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