Regulators probe mysterious source of saltwater purge in northern Oklahoma

Operators of four saltwater disposal wells in Oklahoma’s STACK have agreed to stop operations for 30 days while state regulators investigate a sudden increase of saltwater.

Matt Skinner, a spokesman for the Oklahoma Corporation Commission called it a “purge” of water to the surface. The purge produced an average of 68 barrels of saltwater a day.  It has been diverted since the first of July into a temporary holding area.

“It is an active investigation,” Skinner told the Oklahoman. “There is no way to compare it to another purge because each is unique. But a purge that is not directly and easily traceable to well activity is very rare.”

The purge is located near the community of Omega at the Kingfisher and Blaine county line. Three nearby inactive production wells were voluntary plugged by operator Devon Energy but it did not have an impact on the purge.

But the impact of the shut-down of the four wells won’t be known for some time.

“It will be several weeks at least before we see whether or not this has an input,” explained Skinner.