Fracturing Workshop Draws 340 Attendees

Through a memorandum of understanding with the Environmental and Engineering Geophysical Society that was established in 2010, AAPG’s Division of Environmental Geosciences co-sponsored a one-day workshop on hydraulic fracturing at the recent Symposium on the Application of Geophysics to Engineering and Environmental Problems (SAGEEP) in Tucson, Ariz. in March.

The workshop, titled “Hydrofracturing 101: What Is It, What Are the Issues and How Can Geophysics Help?” was convened by Michael Jacobs and Charles “Chip” Groat (both past DEG presidents), Bruce Smith (past DEG Environmental Geophysics Committee chair) and Jeff Paine (past DEG vice president and current Environmental Geophysics Committee chair).

The SAGEEP meeting had 340 attendees from 21 countries with four concurrent daily sessions, consisting of 210 oral presentations and 31 posters. Technical sessions brought together members of the near-surface geophysics community from academia, government and industry. Details of the sessions can be found on the EEGS website. Joint technical sessions were held with the AGU Near Surface Focus group and the SEG Near Surface Section.

A workshop handout – available in downloadable format on the DEG and EEGS websites, summarizes the workshop and includes abstracts for most of the presentations.

In addition, as part of cooperation between DEG and EEGS, peer-reviewed papers for joint special issues of DEG’s journal Environmental Geosciences and EEGS’ Journal of Environmental and Engineering Geophysics are being solicited from among the workshop presenters for publication in early to mid-2013.

These will be two separate journal issues with the workshop theme in common, to be published in the same month.

This workshop was part of DEG’s ongoing efforts to have joint meetings and other events with other technical societies that have overlaps in interest in environmental aspects of the energy industry. Bridges are being built in this way to best serve the AAPG membership through making opportunities available for continuing education in areas that otherwise normally may not be easily open to or noticed by AAPG and DEG members.

The workshop generated significant interest from geophysicists, oil industry representatives, and governmental/regulatory agencies, with attendance reaching more than 40. There were 16 presentations on topics that included:

  • The hydraulic fracturing process itself.
  • Geophysical monitoring of hydraulic fracturing.
  • Economic and environmental issues related to hydraulic fracturing.
  • Regulatory issues related to perceived threats to infrastructure, groundwater and groundwater availability.
  • New approaches to monitoring and assessing possible near-surface impacts of hydraulic fracturing.

This workshop topically also serves as a lead-in to the upcoming Geoscience Technology Workshop on hydraulic fracturing that will be held in Golden, Colo. on Aug. 13-15

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Division Column-DEG Bruce Smith

Bruce Smith is a DEG member and is with the Crustal Geophysics and Geochemistry Science Center of the U.S. Geological Survey in Denver.

Division Column-DEG Tom J. Temples

Tom J. Temples is DEG President.

Division Column DEG

The Division of Environmental Geosciences (DEG), a division of AAPG, is concerned with increasing awareness of the environment and the petroleum industry and providing AAPG with a scientific voice in the public arena. Among its objectives are educating members about important environmental issues, supporting and encouraging research on the effects of exploration and production on the environment, and communicating scientific information to concerned governmental agencies.

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