We demonstrate that pore pressure and stress changes resulting from several decades of oil and gas production significantly affect the likelihood of injection-related induced seismicity. We illustrate this process in the Delaware Basin (western Texas and southeastern New Mexico, USA), in which hydraulic fracturing and waste-water injection have been inducing numerous earthquakes in the southernmost part of the basin where there has been no prior oil and gas production from the formations in which the earthquakes are now occurring. In the seismically quiescent part of the basin, we show that pore-pressure and poroelastic-stress changes associated with prior oil and gas production make induced seismicity less likely. The findings of this study have important implications for the feasibility of large-scale carbon storage in depleted oil and gas reservoirs.
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