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Okla. regulators shutter 3 more wells near rumbling pipeline hub

Oklahoma oil and gas regulators dealing with a dramatic increase in earthquakes near the pipeline hub of Cushing have shut down three more disposal wells.

Another well was shut down by the company that owns it after regulators said they were concerned it was drilled too deep. And the operators of seven other wells were told in a letter written Friday and released yesterday that they must reduce the volume of drilling waste that they inject deep underground.

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) says it has also told the operators of 13 other wells in the Cushing area that they may need to change operations in the future.

The commission is directing wells within 3 miles of the recent earthquakes to shut in. Wells 3 to 6 miles from the shaking have to reduce volumes by 25 percent. Wells 6 to 10 miles away are on notice.


Texas hiring another quake scientist to review disposal applications

Texas oil and gas officials are seeking to hire another earthquake scientist to help the state get a handle on earthquakes related to drilling.

The Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates drilling and not trains, is currently reviewing resumes and interviewing candidates for a "geoscientist" position advertised over the summer.

The posting stated that one of the scientist's duties would be evaluating applications for disposal wells in areas where earthquakes have occurred in the past.


EPA recommends further restrictions on Okla. disposal wells

U.S. EPA wants Oklahoma oil and gas regulators to do more to head off man-made earthquakes, including further limits on the amount of wastewater that oil companies can inject underground.

EPA finished a review late last month of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) wastewater program and wrote that it "recommends that OCC implement additional regulatory actions ... including further reduction of injection volumes."


Okla. company challenges disposal restrictions

For the first time, an Oklahoma oil company is challenging the restrictions placed on it by state regulators trying to stem the tide of earthquakes shaking the state.

Marjo Operating Company Inc.'s challenge is expected to come up today on the docket of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC), but the case is not expected to be heard today. OCC staff will announce intent to contest the Tulsa company's application, and the case will be moved to a different docket.

The earthquakes displayed were located in Oklahoma and occurred from Jan. 2, 2008, until Jan. 15, 2015, based on Oklahoma Geological Survey information. The earthquakes are a minimum 2.0 magnitude. Click map to link to animation. Map courtesy of USGS.

About This Report

A surge in seismic activity is occurring around the U.S., and many top scientists are pointing at injection of waste from drilling and hydraulic fracturing as a possible culprit.


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