A Novel Approach to Assessing Nuisance Risk from Seismicity Induced by UK Shale Gas Development, with Implications for Future Policy Design

Gemma Cremen*, Maximilian J Werner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

Abstract

We propose a novel framework for assessing the risk associated with seismicity induced from hydraulic fracturing, which has been a notable source of recent public concern. The framework combines statistical forecast models for injection-induced seismicity, ground motion prediction equations, and exposure models for affected areas, to quantitatively link the volume of fluid injected during operations with the potential for nuisance felt ground motions. Such (relatively small) motions are expected to be more aligned with the public tolerance threshold for induced seismicity than larger ground shaking that could cause structural damage. This proactive type of framework, which facilitates control of the injection volume ahead of time for risk mitigation, has significant advantages over reactive-type magnitude and ground motion-based systems typically used for induced seismicity management. The framework is applied to the region surrounding the Preston New Road shale gas site in North West England. A notable finding is that the calculations are particularly sensitive to assumptions of the seismicity forecast model used, i.e. whether it limits the cumulative seismic moment released for a given volume or assumes seismicity is consistent with the Gutenberg-Richter distribution for tectonic events. Finally, we discuss how the framework can be used to inform relevant policy.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNatural Hazards and Earth System Sciences Discussions
Early online date7 May 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 May 2020

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