The Railroad Commission of Texas temporarily shut in five disposal wells in North Texas on Friday after a 4.0 magnitude earthquake shook the city of Venus last week.
Four operators — Bosque Disposal Systems LLC, EOG Resources Inc., MetroSaltwater Disposal Inc. and Pinnergy Ltd— were asked to shut in five saltwater disposal wells within 100 square miles of the quake’s epicenter.
The commission said the operators have voluntarily agreed to a temporary shut down so that testing can be performed to determine “if any action is necessary to address seismicity in that area.”
Testing will be conducted during the next few days and will investigate the effects injection operations may have on pressure levels within subsurface rock formations.
The earthquake hit Venus on Thursday evening and was one of the strongest earthquakes ever recorded in the region.
Regulatory officials were dispatched to inspect wells and disposal wells around the earthquake’s epicenter on Thursday and found no damages to infrastructure.
According to the Dallas Morning News, researches from Southern Methodist University will team up with state and federal investigators to research quakes in the area.
“We take the issue of seismicity very seriously and want to move quickly to better understand if there are actions the Commission should require of operators to protect the public, up to and including shutting down well operations,” staff seismologist Dr. Craig Pearson said.
The shutdown came just weeks after the Oklahoma Geological Survey concluded that it is “very likely” that disposal wells may be triggering earthquakes in the region.