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Page added on September 28, 2015

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U.S. earthquakes possibly tied to oil and gas work

Geology

A coalition of U.S. states warned on Monday that a spike in earthquakes potentially tied to oil and gas activity in places not typically prone to them needs urgent attention from regulators and others to protect public safety.

The report to be released later on Monday by States First includes input from governors, regulators and oil and gas policy leaders in 13 states, including Oklahoma and Kansas, where earthquake activity and intensity have risen in recent years.

The report focused on ties between quakes and wastewater injection from oil and gas production work.

“We see something very new and different happening here in the mid-continent,” said Rex Buchanan, interim director of the Kansas Geological Survey and co-chair of the group that issued the report. “We’re not used to this level of seismicity.”

Oklahoma is recording 2.5 earthquakes daily of a magnitude 3 or greater, a seismicity rate 600 times greater than observed before 2008, according to a report in April by the Oklahoma Geological Survey.

The report’s aim is to equip states with tools to evaluate connections between seismic events and injection wells, minimize risk, and be ready when seismic events occur.

Many people have associated the process of hydraulic fracking with earthquakes, but the U.S. Geological Survey said in April that the actual hydraulic fracturing process is only occasionally the direct cause of felt earthquakes. (on.doi.gov/1KGiLzy)

Large volumes of wastewater can result from a variety of industrial processes, including energy production, and several scientific studies have shown that some of the increase in seismic activity in parts of the United States has been “induced” by wastewater injections.

Officials from Illinois, Arkansas, Texas, Indiana, Colorado, Alaska, California, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming also contributed to the report.

The report suggested several steps that could be taken by states to reduce risk to residents including improving monitoring of seismic activity and well work, direct injection of wastewater into certain faults, and establishing procedures to suspend wastewater injection when seismic activity rises to worrisome levels.

The report said one problem is a lack of good information mapping faults, particularly those at or near critical stress points. Researchers also said they do not know how large an earthquake induced by wastewater injection could potentially be.

“The research needs out here are great. We can’t see what’s going on down there,” said Buchanan. “Being able to understand this is a challenge.”

 

Reuters



5 Comments on "U.S. earthquakes possibly tied to oil and gas work"

  1. makati1 on Mon, 28th Sep 2015 8:54 pm 

    Not “Probably”. Absolutely!

    More hedging their bets from a mouthpiece of bloody red Wall Street and the Banksters.

  2. rockman on Tue, 29th Sep 2015 6:56 am 

    Just so everyone knows the facts. If one pulls up all the links, including all the various govt agencies, there’s no correlation between frac’ng and increased tremors. The MSM throws in the word frac’ng just to get your attention. The potential cause offered is injection into disposal wells which is most often salt water. So while OK may have seen a big uptick in tremors the question remains: man-induced or natural? Certainly some minor shallow tremors have been documented to have been caused by injection wells. But here the problem with tagging the recent increase with injection wells: those injection wells aren’t a new part of the dynamic. OK has had thousands of injection wells for many decades. Wells that have injected BILLIONS of gallons of fluid long before the tremor increases. And during all that injection OK averaged only 2 such tremors per year before 2009 compared to hundreds per year now. Thus there is zero correlation between the volume of injected oil field wastes and the recent seismic activity since there were very few tremors during the period when billions of gallons injected.

    So what is the cause? I don’t know. But OK does sit right next to one of the largest earth quakes to ever hit in the US including CA and AL: the New Madrid Earth Quake of 1811 with an estimated 8.1 magnitude. There are estimates that the earthquakes were felt strongly over roughly 50,000 sq mi, and moderately across nearly 1 million square miles. The 1906 San Francisco earthquake, by comparison, was felt moderately over roughly 6,200 sq mi. It actually caused church bells to ring in NYC. The folks in OK and Missouri might want to focus a bit more on the intraplate activity along the New Madrid system: it has been estimated with the growth in population if another NME hit today hundreds of thousands would die: no…there are no earth quake building codes in the mid-USA.

    And how unusual are the OK tremors? According to the USGS tremors in the range of 3 to 4 (the common magnitude of the OK tremors) occur annually in the US about 130,000 times per year. And the smaller tremors of 2 to 3: 1.3 million times per year. And those frequencies have changed very little over the decades: they are based upon observations since the year 1900. A USGS earth quake expert offers some reasons why we might be recording more tremors. He’s actually focusing on large quakes but his explanation would be even more applicable to small tremors:

    Dr. Michael Blanpied: “There are really three main reasons why we’re seeing more news about deadly earthquakes. First is that the quality of reporting is much higher. Second is that we’re able to record them better due to global digital seismic networks that report data in real time. Third is that more and more people live in quake-prone areas, so earthquakes are more likely to strike vulnerable populations than was the case decades ago.”

    Of course getting shaken in your bed for a few seconds in the middle of the night might be unsettling, no injuries have been reported as a result of these very small tremors. But a tad more disturbing for the 144 who did in just one earth quake in the Philippines in 2013. Fortunately OK does not sit on the Ring of Fire.

  3. makati1 on Tue, 29th Sep 2015 7:13 am 

    Ah, but coincidence is more than bad reporting isn’t it? Hundreds in a small area where there were few is a sign that something has changed recently and what else has changed? The weather? Nope, frakers lubricating the rocks below. And when the big one is released … the claim will be … “I didn’t know”. Typical oily cover-up.

    I’m not worried about fraking. It’s days are numbered along with the US economy as a whole. I’ve been watching the run up to the Great Depression. The similarity of events then and now are scary. Those who don’t remember history are doomed to repeat it.

  4. BobInget on Tue, 29th Sep 2015 6:11 pm 

    Thanks God! All that nasty fraccing is going away.

    Here’s real earth-shaking news;
    (Description
    Core Laboratories N.V. (Core Lab) is a provider of proprietary and patented reservoir description, production enhancement and reservoir management services to the oil and gas industry. These services and products are directed toward enabling its clients to improve reservoir performance and increase oil and gas recovery from their producing fields. The Company operates in three segments: Reservoir Description, Production Enhancement and Reservoir Management. The Company provides analytical and field services to characterize properties of crude oil and petroleum products to the oil and gas industry),

    “CLB drops US oil production forecast: Previously saw drop of 500,000 bopd from peak in April; now sees down 700,000 bopd by YE15 .

    Sees 900,000 bopd further drop in US production in 2016 if activity levels stay here.

    CLB said on 2Q call Middle East production not sustainable, then Saudi cut 300,000 bopd. Says 4Q to see Iraq really drop”.

    ME today is one huge conflict zone.

    Horses mouth fellas,
    The next sound you hear, after ‘Jingle Bells’; “Tap the SPR”.

  5. BobInget on Tue, 29th Sep 2015 8:32 pm 

    Rockman, I’ll post the EIA repore around 10:35 Eastern. If your free, would you mind commenting?

    API is calling for 4.5 million barrel surplus.
    Anything below that should be bullish depending on refinery utilization.
    (refineries are doing maintenance and change over to winter blends)

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