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Selecting seismically safe formations for salt water disposal in the Delaware basinGreen Open Access

Authors: Zuzana Jechumtálová, Denis Anikiev and Leo Eisner
Journal name: First Break
Issue: Vol 37, No 6, June 2019 pp. 47 - 49
Special topic: Embracing Change - Creativity for the Future
Language: English
Info: Article, PDF ( 1.45Mb )

An increased level of seismicity in Delaware Basin generally from 2015 (West Texas and New Mexico, USA), and specifically in its southeast part near the city of Pecos from the year 2017 has opened up the question of whether it is induced or natural. Earthquakes can be induced either due to hydraulic fracturing designed to stimulate the production from tight shale formations, or by disposal of wastewater (Ellsworth, 2013). As the production from the Permian basin is rapidly growing, there are many new active injection wells (both hydraulic fracturing as well as salt water disposal wells) within this basin. As the detectability of seismic events increased (the result of the state-wide effort of TexNet network) some increase of reported seismicity can be attributed to the lower detection threshold for natural seismicity, but some increased seismicity can be due to hydraulic fracturing and some due to salt water disposal. The spatial and temporal relationship between injection rates and observed seismicity can be used to associate these earthquakes, origins.

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