Northern Oklahoma quakes result in shutdowns of disposal wells


Oklahoma regulators have asked some oil and gas well operators in northern Oklahoma to cease operations following a 4.2 magnitude earthquake that struck near Covington in Garfield County.

The Corporation Commission’s Induced Seismicity Department directed the operators to take the action.

No injuries or damage were reported from the 4.2 magnitude quake reported Mike Honigsberg, the Garfield County Emergency Management Director. But two weaker quakes measuring 3.7 magnitude and 3.5 magnitude preceded the stronger one.

The strongest of the quakes hit about 11:45 a.m. It was followed by up to half a dozen weaker quakes in the 2.0 to 2.7 magnitude.

The cease operation orders applied to Arbuckle disposal wells within three miles of the epicenter of the earthquake. Other Arbuckle disposal wells within three to 10 miles of the epicenter were asked to reduce disposed volume to no more than 50% of the most current 30-day average.

The moves by the regulators are expected to reduce the disposed volumes by nearly 9,000 barrels a day.

Researchers are in broad agreement that disposal into the Arbuckle formation in parts of Oklahoma can raise risk of induced seismicity. Commission ISD directives since 2015 limiting or eliminating such disposal are among the actions credited with the sharp decrease in Oklahoma’s seismicity rate since 2015.

A map of the impacted area and the disposal wells in question is attached.

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