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Seismicity induced by fluid withdrawal cannot be explained without taking into account the accompanying stress changes, which are associated with the large-scale contraction of the reservoir caused by pore pressure reduction or uplift caused by removal of a significant mass of hydrocarbons. The magnitude of the events can be potentially large, because the stress change takes place over areas that are similar in size to the reservoir. However, to trigger an earthquake requires the initial state of stress to be very close to critical, because the perturbation of the stress is minute compared to the magnitude of the pore pressure reduction. For example, in the well-documented Lacq gas field (France) the increase of the maximum shear stress was estimated to be about 0.1 MPa (1 bar) in regions surrounding the reservoir for a pressure drop of 30 MPa (300 bar) in the reservoir.
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