The last decade has seen a significantly increased interest in microseismic monitoring by the hydrocarbon industry due to the recent surge in unconventional resources such as shale-gas and heavy-oil plays. Both hydraulic fracturing and steam injection create changes in local pore pressures and in situ stresses and thereby brittle failure in intact rock plus additional slip/shearing in naturally fractured rock. Local rock failure or slip yields an acoustic emission, which is also known as a microseismic event. The microseismic cloud represents thus a volumetric map of the extent of induced fracture shearing, opening and closing. Microseismic monitoring can provide pertinent information on in situ reservoir deformation due to fluid stimulation, thus ultimately facilitating reservoir drainage. This paper reviews some of the current key questions and research in microseismicity, ranging from acquisition, processing to interpretation.
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