• 1 hour Maduro Names Chavez’ Cousin As Citgo Boss
  • 8 hours Bidding Action Heats Up In UK’s Continental Shelf
  • 13 hours Keystone Pipeline Restart Still Unknown
  • 17 hours UK Offers North Sea Oil Producers Tax Relief To Boost Investment
  • 19 hours Iraq Wants To Build Gas Pipeline To Kuwait In Blow To Shell
  • 21 hours Trader Trafigura Raises Share Of Oil Purchases From State Firms
  • 22 hours German Energy Group Uniper Rejects $9B Finnish Takeover Bid
  • 24 hours Total Could Lose Big If It Pulls Out Of South Pars Deal
  • 1 day Dakota Watchdog Warns It Could Revoke Keystone XL Approval
  • 2 days Oil Prices Rise After API Reports Major Crude Draw
  • 2 days Citgo President And 5 VPs Arrested On Embezzlement Charges
  • 2 days Gazprom Speaks Out Against OPEC Production Cut Extension
  • 2 days Statoil Looks To Lighter Oil To Boost Profitability
  • 2 days Oil Billionaire Becomes Wind Energy’s Top Influencer
  • 2 days Transneft Warns Urals Oil Quality Reaching Critical Levels
  • 2 days Whitefish Energy Suspends Work In Puerto Rico
  • 2 days U.S. Authorities Arrest Two On Major Energy Corruption Scheme
  • 3 days Thanksgiving Gas Prices At 3-Year High
  • 3 days Iraq’s Giant Majnoon Oilfield Attracts Attention Of Supermajors
  • 3 days South Iraq Oil Exports Close To Record High To Offset Kirkuk Drop
  • 3 days Iraqi Forces Find Mass Graves In Oil Wells Near Kirkuk
  • 3 days Chevron Joint Venture Signs $1.7B Oil, Gas Deal In Nigeria
  • 3 days Iraq Steps In To Offset Falling Venezuela Oil Production
  • 3 days ConocoPhillips Sets Price Ceiling For New Projects
  • 6 days Shell Oil Trading Head Steps Down After 29 Years
  • 6 days Higher Oil Prices Reduce North American Oil Bankruptcies
  • 6 days Statoil To Boost Exploration Drilling Offshore Norway In 2018
  • 6 days $1.6 Billion Canadian-US Hydropower Project Approved
  • 6 days Venezuela Officially In Default
  • 6 days Iran Prepares To Export LNG To Boost Trade Relations
  • 6 days Keystone Pipeline Leaks 5,000 Barrels Into Farmland
  • 6 days Saudi Oil Minister: Markets Will Not Rebalance By March
  • 7 days Obscure Dutch Firm Wins Venezuelan Oil Block As Debt Tensions Mount
  • 7 days Rosneft Announces Completion Of World’s Longest Well
  • 7 days Ecuador Won’t Ask Exemption From OPEC Oil Production Cuts
  • 7 days Norway’s $1 Trillion Wealth Fund Proposes To Ditch Oil Stocks
  • 7 days Ecuador Seeks To Clear Schlumberger Debt By End-November
  • 7 days Santos Admits It Rejected $7.2B Takeover Bid
  • 7 days U.S. Senate Panel Votes To Open Alaskan Refuge To Drilling
  • 8 days Africa’s Richest Woman Fired From Sonangol
Can Oil Majors Continue To Beat Estimates?

Can Oil Majors Continue To Beat Estimates?

As oil prices claw their…

Keystone XL Pipeline Gains Approval After A 9-Year Battle

Keystone XL Pipeline Gains Approval After A 9-Year Battle

Nebraskan regulators have approved the…

Oklahoma Cracks Down on Disposal Wells To Reduce Earthquakes

Oklahoma Cracks Down on Disposal Wells To Reduce Earthquakes

Oklahoma is requiring energy companies to greatly reduce the amount of wastewater they inject below ground in an earthquake-prone part of the state to determine whether this step could reduce the number of quakes that have plagued the state in the past few years.

Under new rules announced the night of Aug. 3 by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, 12 companies operating in a 40-mile tract northeast of Oklahoma City must reduce by 38 percent the amount of wastewater they inject into 23 disposal wells over the next 60 days.

The commission, whose Oil and Gas Conservation Division issued the regulations, said they will cut wastewater volume by about 2.4 million barrels below their level in 2012, when a sudden increase in earthquakes began in the area.

Related: US Oil Production Finally Starting to Decline

In fact, there’s been a marked increase in the number of earthquakes in Oklahoma and several other central states since 2009. Various scientific studies say they are caused by a corresponding increase in the underground disposal of salty wastewater, a byproduct of the recent boom in oil and gas drilling in the region.

Producing oil and gas generates this wastewater whether it is extracted conventionally or by hydraulic fracturing, also called fracking. Scientists say this newly disposed wastewater finds its way into cracks in underground rock, loosening them until they slip under the pressure of weight of rocks above them. This slip causes the earth to shake, they say.

Related: An Unusual Potential Ally In The U.S. Shale Boom

In Oklahoma alone, the number of earthquakes has risen to the point where noticeable quakes with a magnitude greater than 3.0 on the widely used Richter scale are felt at least twice a day. Before 2009, such earthquakes were felt no more than twice a year.

The Oklahoma quakes are puzzling not only because they used to be rare in the state, but also because the disposal wells are so small. In 2014, for example, the wells’ operators injected only about 8.8 million barrels in the affected area, far below the 1.1 billion barrels disposed of the year before. Therefore the new regulations rely largely on chance.

Related: Could WTI Trade At A Premium To Brent By Next Year?

“The seismicity is off the charts, and we don’t have any high-volume wells there,” said Tim Baker, the director of the agency that imposed the disposal limit. “So we’ll go ahead and reduce the volume and see if that has any effect on seismicity.”

Michael Teague, the state’s secretary of energy and environment, said it may take between six months and a year to determine whether the new regulations help resolve Oklahoma’s earthquake problem, especially since previous efforts to reduce them have been fruitless. “We’ve come a long way, but we’re not there yet,” he said.

Gov. Mary Fallin, who attended the meeting where the new regulations were announced, said that until the problem is solved, Oklahomans worried about their homes’ safety should buy private earthquake insurance. This prompted reporters to ask if she believed her administration was doing enough to end the threat.

“We’re sure trying to,” the governor replied.

By Andy Tully Of Oilprice.com

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:



Join the discussion | Back to homepage

Leave a comment
  • onlymho on August 07 2015 said:
    " In 2014, for example, the wells’ operators injected only about 8.8 million barrels in the affected area, far below the 1.1 billion barrels disposed of the year before. Therefore the new regulations rely largely on chance." all while the number and magnitude of quakes increased in 2014

    but the proposal is to cut more and if by chance the seismicity changes it must be the injection wells that caused the increase?

    scientific approach or coincidence observation?

Leave a comment

Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News