An Oklahoma Corporation Commission just-released directive means oil and gas operators in the state will face additional restrictions on disposal wells linked to man-made earthquakes, the regulator said Friday.
The updated directive from the commission expands the areas for additional scrutiny of disposal wells in so-called earthquake areas of interest. It also requires operators to reduce the depths of disposal wells injecting into the Arbuckle formation, a change from earlier when they could opt to just reduce volumes.
In March, the commission issued a directive to operators of more than 300 disposal wells to prove they weren’t injecting through the Arbuckle and into the crystalline base. If they were, operators were told to plug the wells or reduce volumes. Seismologists have warned of the potential risks of causing earthquakes from injecting into the rock below the Arkbuckle.
“Though it’s too soon to know the results of the first directive, seismologists agree that injection into or in communication with the basement poses a high risk for seismicity, so this expansion makes sense,” said Michael Teague, Oklahoma’s Secretary of Energy and Environment.
The updated commission directive applies to 211 additional disposal wells. Operators have until Aug. 14 to prove they’re not injecting below the Arbuckle formation.
Oklahoma in 2014, recorded 585 earthquakes greater than 3.0 magnitude on the Richter Scale, exceeding California in that category. There have been 499 earthquakes greater than 3.0 so far this year, including 16 greater than 4.0, according to the Oklahoma Geological Survey.
Note: Read all of the Kallanish Commodities Energy News which is published daily online, www.kallanish.com. Kallanish also publishes a daily newsletter, and will be happy to add your name to the distribution list. Simply email .