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The BC Energy Regulator (Regulator) is partnering with land owners to temporarily place a dense seismic monitoring array in the Tower Lake area to study hydraulic fracturing operations.

The BC Energy Regulator (Regulator) is partnering with land owners to temporarily place a dense seismic monitoring array in the Tower Lake area to study hydraulic fracturing operations.

In cooperation with Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and a private Canadian company, Symroc, the goal of the project is to increase understanding of induced seismic events in northeast B.C. and use the information to reduce felt events in the future.

The Regulator currently employs a regional seismic array of 20 monitors throughout northeast B.C. This temporary deployment of 36 additional monitors allows for localized and focused research on a specific area and will help all the partners better understand seismicity at a level of detailed resolution not undertaken by any other jurisdiction in Canada.

The monitoring equipment, which is being spaced roughly one kilometer apart in a six by six kilometer grid (see graphic below), will collect seismic data during an upcoming hydraulic fracturing operation by a company working in Tower Lake, approximately 40 km southeast of Fort St. John. Fracturing activity is scheduled to begin in January 2021. The plan is to have all the monitors in place by early December 2020 and then removed in Spring 2021 after the fracturing activities are finished. This will allow Symroc to thoroughly test their equipment and provide NRCan and the Regulator with critical, high fidelity data in an area that has exhibited previous induced seismic activity.

To obtain the best results, the study requires access to as many locations as possible. Tower Lake land owners are playing a crucial role in the research by allowing Symroc to access and place the small monitors on their land. Data from the seismic monitors will be shared with the land owners and made public.


Torr Haglund, VP Business Development, Symroc:

“Symroc is pleased to participate in the NRCan and Regulator joint seismicity study. We believe with the high-quality data generated from our sensors, we can help improve the effectiveness of the regulations associated with hydraulic fracturing.”

Honn Kao, Project Leader, Induced Seismicity Research, Natural Resources Canada:

“NRCan works closely with provincial regulators to always make public safety the top priority. Collaborating with the Regulator and Symroc, the purpose of this experiment is to collect detailed observations of seismic signals associated with hydraulic fracturing at an unprecedented resolution. Results of this experiment are expected to improve our understanding of the physical process responsible for injection-induced earthquakes that, in turn, can lead to an effective mitigation of possible seismic hazards.”

Ken Paulson, Executive VP, Chief Operating Officer, BC Energy Regulator:

“As the first regulatory body in North America to determine that hydraulic fracturing can result in low-level induced seismicity (Horn River Study 2012), the Regulator is very supportive of the deployment of these additional 36 seismic monitors made possible with the support of NRCan, Symroc and area land owners. This deployment will contribute significantly to the growing body of peer reviewed science that helps us to understand the causes and contributing factors of induced seismic events, and assists us in the development of effective mitigation.”

Should you have any questions regarding this News Release, please contact:

For media inquiries:

Lannea Parfitt
Manager, Communications
BC Energy Regulator

For project inquiries:

Stu Venables

Senior Petroleum Geologist

BC Energy Regulator


Torr Haglund

VP Business Development



Dr. Honn Kao

Project Leader, Induced Seismicity Research

Geological Survey of Canada, Natural Resources Canada

Seismic monitoring stations map 05
Installed Symroc seismic monitor