The Microseismic (MS) sub-committee of the Chief Geophysicists’ Forum (CGF) was formed in June, 2011 in response to the growing industry interest in, and use of MS and the recognition that there was an urgent need for standardization in MS data collection, documentation and deliverables.
In order to better understand the CGF members’ views on a variety of issues relating to MS, the sub-committee commissioned an online survey in late 2011. Seventeen questions were posed covering such topics as use of MS, existence of Q.C. standards and deliverables, interaction with regulatory bodies, data trading and issues relating to hydraulic fracturing.
An encouraging twenty-eight responses were received, 24 of which were from MS practitioners. Results were compiled and survey findings shared with the CGF membership in March, 2012. In June, the members agreed that they would be amenable to making the results available to the CSEG membership via the RECORDER so below, we present the survey questions and responses.
Our analysis of the results produced the following findings:
- The majority of companies want better clarity regarding MS documentation and standards/deliverables but a good number don’t have any internal protocols or standards established yet.
- Interactions between regulatory bodies and companies engaged in MS have yet to be clearly defined and/or understood.
- MS data trading and swapping is already taking place although the type of data being traded can vary (e.g. raw data, final reports).
- Companies in general are in favor of participating in collaborative industry efforts to effectively educate the public about hydraulic fracturing operations and deal with criticism.
- The role of MS in monitoring fracturing operations is still evolving and more technical work needs to be done to exploit and fully understand the value of this interpretation tool.
The survey results confirmed that one of the most pressing issues for MS practitioners was the need for guidelines and standards for MS data collection, documentation, deliverables etc. and in October this year, a document entitled ‘Guidelines for Standard Deliverables from Microseismic Monitoring of Hydraulic Fracturing’ co-authored by Shawn Maxwell and Flo Reynolds on behalf of the MS sub-committee was finalized (see below). Following review by CGF and CSEG membership, it is in the process of being endorsed by the CSEG. This valuable document is now available for viewing and down load on the CSEG website.
The MS sub-committee is continuing to examine ways in which we could involve ourselves in other key MS-related issues that are currently exercising industry and regulatory bodies. These might include providing expert help to deal with the negative public perceptions of hydraulic fracturing activities by collaborating with regulatory bodies, C.A.P.P. etc or engaging with provincial Oil & Gas regulatory bodies about the treatment of and reporting requirements for, MS surveys. A visit to provincial regulator websites and a search for ‘microseismic’ reveals an increasing number of references to MS in the last two years, and there’s no doubt that industry is likely to see increasing demands for disclosure of results of its MS monitoring activities as the increasingly vigilant authorities pay closer attention to our hydraulic fracturing activities.
It is recommended that interested readers visit the websites of the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission (www.bcogc.ca) and the Energy Resource Conservation Board (www.ercb.ca) for references to microseismic and hydraulic fracturing.
Finally, be aware that a very active Microseismic Users Group is now well established in Calgary and details of its activities can be found via the following link – http://cseg.ca/members/chief-geophysicists-forum.