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BEST PRACTICES

Findings

1. The DOE Protocol for EGS, which lists seven sequential steps, provides a reasonable initial model for dealing with induced seismicity that can serve as a template for other energy technologies.

2. Based on this initial model, the committee has proposed two matrix-style protocols as examples to illustrate the manner in which these seven activities can ideally be undertaken concurrently (rather than only sequentially), while also illustrating how these activities should be adjusted as a project progresses from early planning through operations to completion.

Gap

No best practices protocol for addressing induced seismicity is generally in place for each of these technologies, with the exception of the protocol recently developed for EGS. The committee suggests that best practices protocols be adapted and tailored to each technology to allow continued energy technology development. Actions toward developing these protocols are outlined below.

Proposed Actions

1. A matrix-style “best practices” protocol should be developed in coordination with the permitting agency or agencies by experts in the field of each energy technology, including EOR, shale gas production, and CCS.

2. The adoption and use of such protocols by developers are recommended in each case where there is a known or substantial probability of inducing seismicity at levels that could pose a concern to the public. In cases where induced seismicity becomes an issue at some stage in the project, the developer can adopt the protocol procedures needed to continue the project in a manner more satisfactory to the public.

3. Even with the adoption and use of a best practices protocol, induced seismicity of serious concern to public health and safety may occur. The regulatory body affiliated with the permitting of well(s) should include, as part of each project’s operation permit, a mechanism (such as a “traffic light” mechanism) for the well operator to be able to control, reduce, or eliminate the potential for felt seismic events.

4. When a traffic light system is to be adopted or imposed to control operations that may cause unacceptable levels of induced seismicity, full disclosure and discussion



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