On Monday, September 28, 2015 the StatesFirst Induced Seismicity by Injection Work Group (ISWG) published a report: Potential Injection-Induced Seismicity Associated with Oil & Gas Development. The ISWG is comprised of members from state regulatory agencies that oversee underground injection wells in Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Ohio, Oklahoma, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Texas, Utah and West Virginia. Its recommendations reflect trends in recent induced seismicity regulatory developments. Various technical advisors in the oil and gas industry contributed to the report as well. Increased data collection and sharing is a “key message” of the report:
Given the geologic diversity across the United States, differences associated with the location and volumes of subsurface injection of saltwater, diversity and scope of operations, and allocation of state resources, there clearly is not a “one-size-fits-all” best practice for data and information collection, reporting, and sharing. Rather, best practices at the state and local levels may be developed based on the local geology, environment, and risk levels, considering state and local stakeholder discussions and engagement.
Development of improved stress and fault maps requires collaboration across multiple stakeholder groups. For specific local situations, data requested from industry should be handled in a manner that reflects consideration of confidential/proprietary business information and other potential contractual obligations that may be in place. Also, because, interpretive data may be subject to revision and updates as new information becomes available, consideration should be given to the potential uncertainty and associated with these data when they are applied in specific regulations or permit conditions. Regulators may wish to consider how to mediate and broker information and data collection and sharing, so that the most effective and appropriate datasets are considered and appropriate expertise is brought together to conduct studies and investigations.
Finally, industry stakeholders may want to evaluate the data collection and archival capability of regulatory agencies that hold injection well data, along with the companies that supply this data, and to identify opportunities to improve data collection and reporting capabilities with advanced computing systems, enabling more timely access to relevant injection well data.