While Democrats and homeowners might be critical of the way the Oklahoma Corporation Commission is responding to the new swarm of earthquakes in the state, one man who stands firmly behind the response is Dr. Jeremy Boak. He is the director of the Oklahoma Geological Survey and thinks the Corporation Commission is taking the prudent steps in targeting wastewater injection wells.
“To me, it looks like the best thing for them to do is keep on focusing on the most recent large earthquakes and say, ‘let’s reduce in this area’,” said Boak in an interview with OK Energy Today. “Let’s hold off on letting anybody ramp up again until we’re confident the earthquakes have slowed down.”
Focusing on the nearly 20 quakes that struck Fairview and Alva, the largest 4.8 magnitude, Dr. Boak said the commission took actions in November 2015 to reduce operation of injection wells in the region.
“They didn’t really act up in that northern area on specific wells until those earthquakes in November, so we really only had a month response time up there,” he said.
Boak indicated in an August, 2015 interview with OK Energy Today that it would take months before the state saw any impact on the state’s moves to curtail some injection well operations following a 3.7 magnitude quake in Logan County. At the time of the interview, Dr. Boak did not want to comment on the question of whether the Corporation Commission should do more than reduce well operations.
Now he is commenting publicly.
“I think the Corporation Commission is taking a careful and constructive approach to sort of throttling things back slowly and carefully because if we simply shut it all down instantly, we’d probably get a pulse of earthquakes that came from relieving the pressure.”
Listen to Jerry Bohnen’s interview with Dr. Boak.