Hydraulic Fracturing and West Texas Quakes
November 12, 2020
A study by scientists from the TexNet Seismic Monitoring Program shows that some of the recent earthquake activity in the Delaware Basin of West Texas may be related to hydraulic fracturing.
“The research done through this new study in West Texas, using a statistical approach to associate seismicity with oil and gas operations, suggests that some seismicity is more likely related to hydraulic fracturing than saltwater disposal,” said Alexandros Savvaidis, a research scientist at the Bureau of Economic Geology and manager of TexNet.
Hydraulic fracturing has been linked to seismicity in other areas — Oklahoma, China and Canada — but this study, published Oct. 14, 2019, in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, is the first to link it to induced seismicity in Texas.
The Delaware Basin is a part of the Permian Basin, a prolific oil and gas producing region that has seen a significant rise in exploration and production during the past few years. The Permian Basin now produces more than 5 million barrels of oil per day.