Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences Dedman College Research Earth Sciences Faculty News

Heather DeShon, Dedman, study finds Fort Worth basin wastewater injection increases fault-slip potential

Journal of Petroleum Technology

Originally Posted: August 7, 2019

The Barnett Shale might be a play of yesteryear for the US onshore industry, but the examination of a decade’s worth of recorded activity from the birthplace of the shale revolution yields new insight on the seismic impact of wastewater injection.

Findings from researchers at the University of Texas (UT), Stanford University, and Southern Methodist University (SMU) reveal that wastewater injection in the Fort Worth Basin (FWB) of North Texas “significantly increases the likelihood for faults to slip” if not managed properly, according to a UT news release.

To improve understanding of fault sensitivity, the team mapped 251 faults totaling more than 1,800 miles in combined length in the FWB. Those faults mostly extend from the crystalline basement into the Paleozoic succession, ranging in trace length from less than two tenths of a mile to 85 miles. Each fault that hosted seismic activity, save for the 22-mile-long DFW Airport fault, is less than 5-miles long.

The researchers noted that faults in the basin were otherwise stable when left undisturbed. The FWB encompasses much of the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area. READ MORE