Image courtesy of the Texas Railroad Commission.

Texas’ oil and gas regulator said Monday that small earthquakes in North Texas were likely not caused by an XTO Energy disposal well.

According to the AP, the preliminary findings from a Texas Railroad Commission investigation concluded that a wastewater disposal well operated by XTO Energy in Azle, Texas most likely did not cause seismic events in 2013.

However, the report added that there was not enough evidence to determine if the earthquakes were caused by natural seismic shifts.

The findings counter a Southern Methodist University study that suggested the XTO Energy well and a disposal well operated by Enervest triggered earthquakes near Azle and Reno, Texas in 2013 and 2014, the Dallas Morning News noted.

A ruling on the well operated by Houston-based Enervest has not been released yet.

Both companies have refuted the conclusions made in the SMU study.

The parties involved have 15 days to respond to the report before it’s finalized, the Dallas Morning News added.

Last year, the Texas Railroad Commission unanimously agreed to tighten waste water disposal well regulations in an effort to prevent drilling induced earthquakes.

The commission can now force operators to turn over records of the amount of water injected into disposal wells and the downhole pressure of wells and has more power to limit the amount of water injected into a well.

The commission temporarily shut in five North Texas disposal wells in May after a 4.0 magnitude earthquake shook the city of Venus.


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