“Obviously it’s another critical situation.” Matt Skinner on long night of earthquakes.
The impact of a night of nearly 20 earthquakes in central and northern Oklahoma had staffers scrambling Thursday morning at the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, looking at maps of disposal wells and of the region and trying to decide what steps should be taken to bring an end to the growing swarms of quakes.
“Certainly, there will be a response. Just what that response will be, I can’t say right now,” said Matt Skinner when reached Thursday morning after the list of quakes grew to 17 since late Wednesday night. “But obviously it’s another critical situation.”
He said staffers in the Commission’s Oil and Gas Division were studying maps showing geographic faults and locations of wastewater injection wells in northern Oklahoma near Fairview where a 4.8 magnitude quake hit late Wednesday evening.
“It is a horrible situation and we’re gonna keep moving on with the resources we have and trying to use the best science that’s available to us,” said Skinner in an interview with OK Energy Today. The Commission no longer has a seismologist available to reach out to since the resignation of a seismologist last year at the Oklahoma Geological Survey.
“Frustrating doesn’t even begin to describe it—that’s too weak a word to describe what it means for those who are involved in those things,” he added.
Injection wells have already been under reduced operations since last year in northern Oklahoma. The latest swarm only raises the spectre of a shutdown of more wells. But are other possible causes of the quakes being considered or studied by the Commission?
“We are not because we have to stay within the limits of our jurisdiction for obvious reason,” answered Skinner. “So what we are doing is working with researchers saying ‘what can we do with the authority that we have about this issue?'”
Listen to Jerry Bohnen’s interview of Matt Skinner.