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)

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Abstract

We propose a novel framework for assessing the risk associated with seismicity induced by hydraulic fractur- ing, which has been a notable source of recent public con- cern. The framework combines statistical forecast models for injection-induced seismicity, ground motion prediction equations, and exposure models for affected areas, to quanti- tatively 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 dam- age. This proactive type of framework, which facilitates con- trol of the injection volume ahead of time for risk mitiga- tion, has significant advantages over reactive-type magnitude and ground-motion-based systems typically used for induced seismicity management. The framework is applied to the re- gion surrounding the Preston New Road shale gas site in North West England. A notable finding is that the calcula- tions are particularly sensitive to assumptions of the seismic- ity forecast model used, i.e. whether it limits the cumulative seismic moment released for a given volume or assumes seis- micity 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
Pages (from-to)2701-2719
Number of pages19
JournalNatural Hazards and Earth System Sciences
Volume20
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Oct 2020

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