In the wake of a 4.0 magnitude earthquake, along with several smaller tremors in Lincoln County, Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) has implemented measures to reduce the volume of oil and gas wastewater disposed within a 10-mile radius of the affected area. The OCC’s Oil and Gas Conservation Division (OGCD) confirmed that these measures will impact 23 disposal wells in the region.
Scientists have credited the reduction of wastewater injected into the Arbuckle formation as a key factor in the over 90% decrease in 3.0 magnitude earthquakes in Oklahoma since 2015. In light of this, the OCC OGCD is taking decisive action in response to the recent seismic events. Disposal wells operating within 6 miles of the 4.0 earthquake location have been ordered to cease operations indefinitely.
For disposal wells operating within a 6 to 10-mile radius from the earthquake site, new injected volume limits have been established. Wells with an average injection of 500 barrels per day or less over the latest 30-day period must not exceed that average, while wells with average volumes over 500 barrels per day are required to reduce their volume by 50 percent.
To minimize the risk of inadvertently causing a seismic event due to a sudden change in pressure, the OCC OGCD will phase in these volume reductions and shut-ins over a four-week period. This proactive approach by the OGCD aims to protect both the environment and the community, while promoting responsible practices in the oil and gas industry.