MONITORING SOLUTIONS / OIL & GAS, ENERGY, MINING
There is now heightened concern from regulators, and the general public, over the real or perceived impact of unconventional oil and gas production operations on local seismicity, The Weir-Jones Group has developed a technically advanced, cost effective, and easily deployable recording system for collecting information about the induced seismicity associated with wastewater injection, fracking, geothermal, CO2 sequestration, and other applications. The standalone system is QuakeMonitor® and it has been designed, developed, and implemented by a team of earth scientists and engineers who have worked in the induced seismicity monitoring and regulatory sector in the US, Canada and overseas for more than forty years.
QuakeMonitor® is a cost effective induced seismicity monitoring system that is easy to deploy, and inexpensive to operate. The key to the monitoring system is a unique and proprietary combination of on-board processing linked via satellite or cellular link to a central processing center. QuakeMonitor® is manufactured to ISO 9001:2015 standards. The system provides an operator with detailed unambiguous seismicity data that satisfies all regulatory requirements.
The hardware and software components of the QuakeMonitor® system consist of:
1. The QuakeMonitor® field recorder supplied in a NEMA 4 enclosure c/w solar panel, low temperature battery pack and the communications module as shown in the Schematic in Figure 2, and deployed at a waste injection and disposal site in Figure 3. It is easily and quickly deployed and has an operating temperature range of ‒40°C to +65°C.
2. Operational Support: providing installation services and maintaining a real-time seismic network to monitor a site on a 24/7 basis as required.
3. Processing (collecting and processing the induced seismicity data to provide graphical and numerical plots of daily events, cumulative number of events, local magnitudes, event location, and event timing). All the data can be easily viewed with our proprietary user interface, including detected event information and the system’s state-of-health.
The QuakeMonitor® field recorder digitizes up to 9 analog inputs with 18bit effective resolution, a MEMS accelerometer is included to record large magnitude events. A GPS receiver provides timing synchronization and self-location of the recording station. A cellular or iridium/orbcomm satellite transmits detected event waveform data, event time, and state-of health information to a central server in approximately 30 secs, and is reported to the client in near-real time via email and/or text notification. Three geophone sensors and 3-component MEMS sensors are mounted inside the main system enclosure. With the addition of a suitable connector, any available geophone/seismometer can be used with the system.
The simple user interface consists of 3 LEDs (red, green, yellow) that indicate normal system operation or error conditions.
QuakeMonitor® is designed to record and report earthquakes in real time with magnitudes (ML) greater than 0.5. Setup time is less than 1 hour, with no need for special equipment, material, or tools. The system is easily installed at any Frac or disposal site and it provides information about induced seismicity at a fraction of the cost of equipment and services offered by other geophysical companies. The field systems and monitoring components are very cost effective.
QuakeMonitor® provides a documented history of induced seismicity in the vicinity of fracking or waste disposal sites. This provides the operator with real-time confirmation that all provincial, or federal regulatory requirements are being met. Based on the local seismic record, the operator can determine if operations should be modified by changing injection rates or zones, if induced events are related to operations at a specific site, or if they are being caused by activities at some other unrelated operation.
QuakeMonitor® analyzes seismic event data either as a single-station, which gives event magnitude, distance and time; or as a network. Network analysis requires a recommended 5 stations and provides a catalogue of seismic event locations and magnitudes in the region defined by the network. Independent stations are analyzed on a common time base to provide a catalogue of seismic event distances-from-station and magnitudes for each station.
Each water disposal well can be equipped with one seismic station and that station provides event distance and local magnitude estimates. The distance estimates are based on the time between P-wave and S-wave arrival, which are robust measurements with few sources of error. However, single-station analysis cannot determine an event location - only how far away the event was. The QuakeMonitor® system provides the operator with a degree of protection against a poorly located earthquake being attributed to their activities, and being forced into a costly shutdown.
The establishment of a network configuration and more detailed analysis can be a more cost effective approach if there are many Frac or injection sites in a small area, because monitoring costs may be reduced. However, and much more importantly, network analysis provides a more complete picture of seismicity by providing location and magnitude estimates based on a recommended 5 stations. This provides definitive documentation in the event of any regulatory or 3rd party claim or investigation.
Irrespective of which deployment or commercial options are chosen, the QuakeMonitor® operational support service provides not only technical support and analysis, but also 24/7 system health monitoring.