The northern Oklahoma region where earthquakes have become a daily part of the routine is seeing more and more oil and gas wells completed and made operational.
A check of the well completion reports published on OK Energy Today showed four more wells have been completed in Alfalfa County, the area where injection well operators are under orders from the Corporation Commission to reduce operations. State officials suspect the increased use of injection wells, where wastewater is dumped from the oil producing wells, is behind the surge in stronger earthquakes near such cities as Cherokee, Fairview, Alva and Medford.
One of the new wells produced 574 barrels of oil daily when it was completed in November 2015. The Chesapeake Operating LLC well is located one mile north of Cherokee. Three other wells were completed about the same time by Midstates Petroleum Company LLC but they were located northwest of the community of Carmen which is northwest of Helena. One well produced 402 barrels of oil a day. Another brought in 365 barrels and a third had production of 207 barrels a day.
While the production is putting more oil in storage or on the market, it also increases the amount of saltwater that has to be returned to the subsurface through the wastewater injection wells.
The latest earthquake measured 3.7 magnitude and struck shortly before 7 a.m. on Monday. Its epicenter was about 6 miles east of Fairview which is in adjacent Major County. On Sunday, a 3.1 magnitude quake was recorded near Stillwater. Two earthquakes were registered Saturday near the Grant County town of Medford. The strongest was 3.4 magnitude.