Oklahoma oil and gas regulators are taking steps to limit disposal well volumes in the Arbuckle formation following recent earthquakes in the central part of the state.
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission’s Oil and Gas Conservation Division (OGCD) is implementing a plan that calls for wastewater disposal wells within 3.5 miles of where earthquakes struck over the holidays to reduce disposal volumes by 50 percent.
According to OKNews, the Edmond area was hit by a 4.3 magnitude earthquake on December 29 and a 4.2 magnitude earthquake on January 1.
Other wells within 10 miles of the earthquake activity will reduce volumes by 25 percent.
The OGCD said there are five operating Arbuckle disposal wells within 10 miles of the center of the earthquake activity.
The plan also calls for all Arbuckle disposal wells within 15 miles of the seismic activity to conduct reservoir pressure testing.
To aid in the agency’s research effort, the operators of the C.J. Judy and the Harvey disposal wells have agreed to suspend operations.
“We are working with researchers on the entire area of the state involved in the latest seismic activity to plot out where we should go from here,” OGCD Director Tim Baker said.
Baker added that the agency is also looking into new seismic activity in the Stillwater area.
According to documents provided by the OGCD, there are no wells within a three mile area of the earthquake epicenter.
A full list of the affected wells can be found here.
Since March, the OGCD has shut-in 15 wells and reduced injection volumes at dozens of other wells in response to seismic activity.
A report published last year by the Oklahoma Geological Survey claims that wastewater disposal wells used during hydraulic fracturing may have triggered some earthquakes in the state.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Oklahoma is the fifth largest crude producer in the United States, excluding offshore areas, and is home to the Cushing oil terminal.