Microseismic User Group (MUG)

An analytical approach to hydraulic fracturing and induced seismicity monitoring

John Duhault

John Duhault
Starbird Enterprises, Calgary, Canada

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016 – 12:00 PM MST
IHS in Sunlife Plaza - East Tower - 112 4th Avenue S.W, 8th floor

Unless the capacity is exceeded, we will not respond to your email. Attendance is free, just bring along your lunch.

RSVP NOW for the next Microseismic User Group (MUG) event.

If you have any questions, please contact:

Paige Mamer, Paige.Mamer@tgs.com,
Johnny Wentzel, Johnny.Wentzel@esgsolutions.com



The public’s fears about hydraulic fracturing and subsequent potential for induced seismicity are a growing concern, even in tried and true oil fields of Alberta. The stakeholders need to be shown that a well thought out approach to understanding hydraulic fracturing and potential induced seismicity can be done in a logical step by step procedure.

A Decision Tree Analysis (DTA) approach is proposed to help identify the steps needed to determine if the proposed oil field activity could penetrate existing potable water aquifers or could generate induced seismicity events that might cause local damage. This process would proceed in a logical manner and conclude with an option to:

  • Carry on with no needfor monitoring,
  • Self-monitor for improved oil field knowledge and economics (completion strategy) or for sensitive areas
  • Or monitor with environmental protocols tied to grounded scientific research

DTA Approach

The first step is to determine the depth of the local potable water zones followed by whether the project is for waste water injection or for hydraulic fracturing of a tight reservoir for future production. Next, a thorough review of the local stratigraphy, geology and geophysics would be examined. This would be followed by the style of fracture treatment and finally the proximity of local population or sensitive areas would be assessed. The DTA analysis would guide the user to the appropriate level of induced seismicity monitoring with or without environmental protocols

The steps created for this DTA were based on field data and observations, published data, personnel communication, conferences and various industry, academia and government web sites. Although some of the steps can run together or in tandem, the analysis will guide geoscientists and completion engineers in the direction of what to pay attention to and what recommendations to make as to the level of environmental protocol necessary for their specific hydrocarbon extraction operation and seismic hazard assessment.

Case Studies

Examples from Western Canada will show the highly variable nature of hydraulically fracturing reservoirs in the Western Canadian basin. They will also illustrate how each area would require a different need or level of induced seismicity monitoring due to the magnitude of the induced seismicity anticipated.


A special thank you goes out to the two gentlemen who helped me create the core of this presentation when we were all at Lightstream Resources:

Brad Lamson, Seven Generation Energy, Gran Prairie, Canada: blamson@7genergy.com

Domingo Alvarez, Lightstream Resources, Calgary, Canada: DAlvarez@lightstreamres.com


John L.J. Duhault, P.Geoph., is a “hunter finder mentor” and a 3G specialist (Geology, Geophysics, Geomechanics), who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Geological Engineering in 1979 from the University of Manitoba and has over 36 years of industry experience including over 47,000 hours of interpretation experience in Canada and overseas.  He has worked for, consulted to, and found oil and gas for integrated senior and intermediate producers (Chevron, CS, Lightstream, Pengrowth, and Canadian Hunter) and numerous junior independents. He founded and led two private juniors (Dragonheart Energy and Dragonheart Resources) and is currently the Principal Geoscience Consultant for Starbird Enterprises specializing in exploration seismic, microseismic and induced seismicity interpretation. Mr. Duhault has presented papers for the CSEG, SEG, CSUR and ASEC on geophysical interpretation, reservoir characterization, microseismic, hydraulic fracturing and induced seismicity. He won Best CSEG Recorder paper in 2012 focusing on Cardium Microseismic interpretation and co-teaches the CSEG 's Value in Geophysics course with Lee Hunt. He was Co-Chair of the CSPG's 2015 Gussow Conference. He is currently Chair of the CSEG’s Value of Integrated Geophysics Committee. Mr. Duhault is a member of CSEG, SEG, CSPG, APEGA, and SPE.