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Exclusive: Oil and gas extraction from oil shale causes man-made earthquakes

The amazing find was published in a study by the US Geological Survey in the journal Science last week. CEO of IEI: Our method is not fracking; Ministry of Energy: Approval will only be given after hearing objections and examining all environmental aspects
Over a year ago I referred to the plans forOil production in the Elah Valley

Map of the impact of the earthquake in Japan, March 11, 2011. From the US Geological Survey website
Map of the impact of the earthquake in Japan, March 11, 2011. From the US Geological Survey website

Among the commenters to the article were also the representatives of the entrepreneurs who claimed that "fracking" (fracking, hereafter - fracking) should not be compared to the method by which they intend to extract oil. According to them, the fracking is based on the compression of liquids under pressure, while the initiative in Emek Elah is based on underground heating.

But for some reason the respondents forgot that the heating is done by pumping hot water underground. That is, there may be no compression of the liquids, but there is a flow. Now published Research in the journal "Science" which explains the connection between the flow of liquids underground and earthquakes.
It turns out that strong earthquakes thousands of kilometers away from the production areas cause series of small tremors in places where water was pumped into the wells to compress oil or gas. Months after the small tremors, tremors occur that are strong enough to damage infrastructure and buildings.
The things that are published in "Science" by a leading laboratory in the field of fracking and seismology will heat up the debate that is already taking place on the subject of fracking.

The study is published at a time when the US Environmental Protection Agency (US Environmental Protection Agency) is examining the impact of fracking with the intention of revising environmental regulations for oil and gas production.

Geologists have known for a long time that injecting liquid into the subsoil causes the pressure to rise in seismic fractures and increases the possibility of the layers sliding on top of each other. The fluids act as added weight and as a lubricant, thus increasing the chances of vibrations.

Seismologists at Columbia University detected tremors in areas where water was pumped underground, which were affected by strong tremors far away from the wells.
According to the researchers from Columbia University: "The fluids bring the fractures (faults) to the point of rupture" Vibrations at the level of 2 units on the Richter scale or less that are not felt are regularly measured in fractured areas. The larger tremors measured were at a level of 3.6 units, where no damage has yet been caused. However, the researchers found evidence that injecting water into wells could lead to these dangerous tremors because of pressure on nearby fractures. Seismic waves that move through the ground and hit the fractures, may rupture the fracture and months later cause an earthquake stronger than 5 on the Richter scale.

It turns out that water that is injected causes a load on local fractures, a load that brings them closer to rupture, so that even seismic waves at a great distance are enough to cause aftershocks at the fracking site, a process the researchers call "dynamic triggering." One of the seismologists from the survey team in Oklahoma explains that "even when the series of earthquakes is over, the danger of a large earthquake still exists." For example: in August 2010 an earthquake with a magnitude of 8.8 on the Richter scale occurred in Chile. 16 hours later, the seismic wave reached an oil field in Oklahoma and caused an earthquake measuring 4.1 on the Richter scale. For months afterwards, weak tremors were measured and then in November 2011 the earth shook with a magnitude of 5.7 on the Richter scale which destroyed houses and roads. It was one of the big earthquakes that is linked to the flow of water and is also linked to a tremor at a great distance. The earthquake in Chile also caused a series of earthquakes in Colorado in an area where water was used to produce methane.

In March 2011, the earth shook in Japan with a magnitude of 9.1 on the Richter scale (the tsunami disaster), which caused a series of small tremors in Texas. A few months later, in an oil field, an earthquake with a magnitude of 4.5 on the Richter scale occurred.

Exclusive: Oil and gas production from oil shale causes man-made earthquakes * Are the production entrepreneurs in the Adulam region aware of this?
Exclusive: Oil and gas production from oil shale causes man-made earthquakes * Are the production entrepreneurs in the Adulam region aware of this?

In many areas near wells where water was pumped, series of "independent" tremors were felt that were not caused by distant tremors. In most cases, tremors (which are affected by distance) occurred in areas where water was used to compress oil or gas for many years. Areas where there was no previous history of tremors. Areas where, according to "Science", the tremors are caused by human chipping activity.

It is worth noting that in the majority of cases where fracking is carried out, the developers use gray water after ensuring that the water will not reach the drinking water aquifer, as there are federal regulations for the disposal of gray water intended to protect drinking water from contamination. The risk of causing earthquakes was not taken into account.

So far findings published in "Science" in reference to the fracking process for producing oil or gas. As the entrepreneurs in Emek Hela claim, their intention is not to produce oil through the fracking process, but by injecting water into the subsoil and heating it. Let's recall that the Elah valley is close to an active (Syrian-African) fault, and the question arises: Is it true and appropriate that the developers, planners and authorities give their opinion to the studies?

IEI CEO Relik Shapir's response

There is sometimes confusion between oil shale and shale oil.
The subject cited in the article (on the USGS AB website) is the extraction of fuels and gases from rocks with low permeability. The fossil material has already turned into a hydrocarbon but cannot come out of the rock (come out of Purim).
In the 90s, with the invention of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, the production technology involving the introduction of water and stimulating chemicals at very high pressures (5,000 PSI) was developed. These developments led to the energy revolution in the US.

Oil shale are layers of rock that contain a substance called kerogen, which is actually the organic substance that, given the right temperatures, can turn into oil. In our technology, the selected volume is heated slowly and at low pressures (7 PSI) so that over time the fossil material turns into hydrocarbons and is pumped through the production pipeline. The rock itself remains in its original structure because the production temperatures do not damage its molecular structure.
Below is a relatively short article describing the differences.

The response of Maya Etzioni, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Energy and Water
The article refers to the method accepted in the USA for producing gas from shale gas - hydraulic fracking. In Israel, it is about oil shale, a different type of rock, and the technology planned in the pilot is heating to obtain oil.
The pilot for extracting oil from oil shale is designed to test the method and its consequences in all aspects, including of course the aspects of the impact on the environment. The planning procedure that takes place within the framework of Section 47 of the Petroleum Law is a stricter procedure than the procedure that was accepted until now in the field of oil exploration, since it includes the preparation of instructions for an environmental document in increased consultation with the Ministry of Environmental Protection, preparation of an environmental document, submission of an application to the District Committee for Planning and Construction, Jerusalem District, Receiving the opinion of the committee's environmental advisor, publishing and notifying the public, hearing and public objections, and only at the end and after weighing all the parameters, the district committee will make a decision about it.
It should be noted that her answer is contrary to my findings An investigation published in the Haaretz supplement, according to which the experiment is an economic experiment, after which the enforcement authorities will find it very difficult to prevent commercial production, and will also seriously damage the environment.

for research in SCIENCE
To the announcement of the researchers on the website of the American Geological Service USGS

To the Israel Energy Company website - an entrepreneur in oil shale production in the Adulam region

On the same topic on the science website
Green trend: ready to test the oil shale in the Adulam region, but without bypassing the planning laws and in cooperation with the ministries of health, environment and agriculture to control environmental damage
Spotlight - hot earth in their world

Alberta's oil sands - the blessing and the curse

6 תגובות

  1. Regarding the disqualification of opinions from the green blog. This is an improper disqualification.

    I read the main points of the report they (the green blog) brought about changes in the growth of algae in Zanzibar and they are right: there is no decrease in the growth of algae there except for a temporary decrease in the years when there was an increase in temperature due to changes in ocean circulation. But ocean circulation changes are not the result of global warming, ocean circulation change is a completely different story.

    In addition to the above. I read about the history of seaweed farming in Zanzibar. It turns out that this is a new tumor, it seems to have started only 20 or 30 years ago; Moreover, in the first attempts, the experiments of growing algae there failed because the species of algae that was grown was not successful. Since it is a new crop that is unknown to the breeders - any success or failure of the crop is not precisely because of the weather conditions but mainly because of the breeders lack of experience or lack of suitability of the crop in the long run; Therefore, it is impossible to blame the failure of the growth precisely because of warming (since there may be other unidentified reasons for the failure).

    The man from the green blog did not refer to the question of producing fuel from oil shale (the subject of the current article), but rather to the fact that Asaf Rosenthal (the author of the article) used to give unreliable reasons.

  2. Using cui bono is usually the start of a conspiracy theory. And not because there is no body or person who gains or loses, but because instead of answering the claims there is a logical fallacy of damaging the credibility of the speaker by accusing him of hidden motives.
    Therefore, it is necessary to argue about facts and claims and not about people.
    For the same reason it is ridiculous to point out that the green blog is biased, everyone is biased and everyone has an opinion. What you're trying to say is that the green blog is not biased towards the side you're on, and that's the worst thing a truth-seeking person can state.

    As long as your claims are not in the substance of the matter but in the body of a speaker, your defense of the side you perceive as "right" or "correct" is received with laughter, even by people who agree with your initial choice,
    What is important is not who the speaker is and what he can gain, but what are his arguments and are they true or not? Any deviation from this is not a scientific discussion but a theological one, only a religious person knows the real truth. Science blows hypotheses into the air, tests them and disproves them (or not). The politicization/theologizing of climate science, which categorizes skeptics as infidels, turns science from a longing for truth, into another theological battlefield.

    It's sad to read a comment like yours, my father, and it's even more sad that the academy is also not immune to this tribal behavior.

  3. The Green Blog can't provide proof of anything to do with the environment, it's a biased blog that despite its name just spends a lot of energy trying to get the government to do nothing.
    And who benefits from not doing this? The energy tycoons of course.
    Strange at all that in Israel they have to deny warming. See a separate article today about sea level rise.
    So don't preach to others.

  4. Referring to what Dr. Rosenthal wrote at the beginning of his article, "but for some reason the respondents forgot that the heating is done by injecting hot water underground. In other words, there may be no compression of the liquids, but there is a flow."
    Dr. Rosenthal is wrong and misleading - there is no flow of water but heating with electric heaters! The operating pressures are 7 atmospheres (lower pressure than the environment in which the heating is carried out) compared to 300 atmospheres in "fracking" to which the cited article refers.

  5. - IEI CEO Relik Shapir builds his response on "confusion" that doesn't exist
    Because already at the beginning of the article I explained the difference
    Between Sidok and the production method in Emek Hala,
    By using concepts that not every reader will understand, he avoids the problem,
    He does not refer to the risks arising from the research.
    - Maya from the Ministry of Energy and Water
    Repeating meaningless slogans that only prove you
    The helplessness (impotence) that prevails in the office,
    - Despite her direct request for a response from the Ministry of Environmental Protection .... Yuk!

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