State Orders Injection Well Reductions in Response to Edmond Earthquakes

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission has once again issued orders for reduced operation of wastewater injection wells suspected of causing a surge in strong earthquakes around Edmond.

The orders issued Monday afternoon affects five operating Arbuckle disposal wells within 10 miles of the center of the earthquake activity in question. The Commission’s plan calls for one well within about 3.5 miles of the activity to reduce its disposal volume 50 percent while the other wells, within 10 miles of the activity, will reduce volume 25 percent.

“We are working with researchers on the entire area of the state involved in the latest seismic activity to plot out where we should go from here,” said Tim Baker, Director of the OCC’s Oil and Gas Conservation Division. “We are looking not only at the Edmond area, but the surrounding area as well, including the new seismic activity that has occurred in the Stillwater area.”

He said the operators of the C.J. Judy and the Harvey disposal wells agreed to suspend operations. The commission’s orders came following the 4.3 magnitude earthquake Dec. 29. It was followed by numerous smaller aftershocks then a 4.2 magnitude quake on New Year’s Day.

In explaining his reduction order, Baker said there were no wells within three miles of the epicenter. The one well facing a 50 percent reduction has until Feb. 1 to do so. The OCC wants the operator to cut operations by 25 percent by Jan. 18 and reduce another 25 percent by the beginning of February.

The four remaining wells are under slightly different deadlines. Their daily volumes are to be reduced by 13 percent on or before Monday, Jan. 18 then daily volumes are to be cut another 12 percent by Monday, Feb. 1.

Wells located 10 to 15 miles from the epicenter will be allowed to operate at current levels.

“This letter shall serve as notification that future seismic activity might result in an expanded area for reductions to include these wells,” wrote Baker in a letter to the various well operators.

He also said the Commission’s plan will include a survey of reservoir pressures of all the Arbuckle disposal wells within the 15 mile radius of the earthquakes that are the subject of the plan. The reservoir pressures will be measured by taking a fluid level after the well has been shut in for a minimum of 48 hours and the measurements will be witnessed by an oil and gas field inspector.





   

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