Researchers from Alberta universities will eavesdrop on fracking, Project will also focus on water usage, links to seismic activity by Amanda Stephenson, Calgary Herald; Dan Barnes, Edmonton Journal, November 9, 2012
Scientists will be “listening in” to hydraulic fracturing as part of a $1.86-million joint research project at the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary. The three-year project is funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and 10 Canadian industry partners. Using microseismic technology, scientists will monitor what goes on during the hydraulic fracturing or fracking process. … “By tracking them, over time, we can determine where fractures are taking place during hydraulic fracture stimulation of wells,” said David Eaton, professor of geophysics at the University of Calgary and principal investigator for the project. There are other ways engineers can monitor what is going on during the fracking process, Eaton said, but micro-seismic monitoring is the only one that provides “real-time” feedback about the location of a fracture. Vander Baan said the project may also help optimize the use of fluids during fracking. “Currently, the amounts of water injected are huge. If we understand how to optimize fracking and drainage of liquids, we can reduce the amount of water used.”
Eaton said the research will also help scientists investigate possible links between hydraulic fracking and larger earth tremors. Field trials have begun at an industry site in central Alberta. The University of Calgary’s borehole micro-seismic system will remain there for 12 months, allowing for extensive observation and monitoring. “Alberta’s resource industries are able to connect to breakthrough research and the best new technologies through projects like this when top research groups at the U of C and the U of A collaborate on issues of strategic importance to all Canadians,” said Lorne Babiuk, vice-president of research at the U of A.
[Refer also to: EnCana donates $7.5 Million to the University of Alberta