The University of Calgary and the University of Alberta are joining forces for a $1.86 million joint research project that will allow more sophisticated monitoring of microseismic activity and hydraulic fracking. Fracking is the extraction technique that has allowed domestic supplies of natural gas to swell, suppressing prices.
The researchers will utilize sensors called geophones to pinpoint and analyze rock fracturing as it occurs. The geophones will be lowered deep into boreholes to record ground vibrations. The new technique will track the growth of fractures during fracking treatments and help the industry function more safely and efficiently.
"Collaborating with Alberta's oil and gas sector to investigate key industry issues, expanding international understanding of new monitoring techniques and offering students an invaluable opportunity for hands on learning through this partnership between the University of Calgary and the University of Alberta will bring economic benefits today and tomorrow and safeguard against unexpected environmental effects," said Ed McCauley, vice-president (research) for the University of Calgary.
The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada is providing 50% of the funding for this three-year, $1.86 million initiative while 10 Canadian industry partners will contribute the remainder.
With hydraulic fracking breathing new life into North American production, the new monitoring system will continue to streamline the process and help keep natural gas and domestic crude in good supply.