Disposal wells to shut down following earthquake, says Oklahoma Corporation Commission

Posted at 12:11 PM, Sep 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-04 11:29:52-04
PAWNEE, OKLA-- Nearly 40 Arbuckle disposal wells are being shut down after Saturday's earthquake.
Both the Oklahoma Coperation Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency are working together to find out what action needs to be taken. 
"I don't like it if that's what's causing all the earthquakes," said Pawnee County Resident Mona Stieber. 
Oklahoman's like Mona Stieber were off to a shaky start Saturday morning with a 5.6 magnitude earthquake rattling the state and damaging homes. Living on a fault line, Stieber thinks the disposal wells are the reason for the earthquake.
"All these horizontal wells that's using all this forceful water in them and then the disposal wells, so I think that's maybe got something to do with it," said Stieber. 
The Oklahoma Coperation Commission for Oil and Gas is now enforcing a shutdown for Arbuckle disposal wells within a 725 square mile area along with a 211 square miles of Osage County.
"Today is the fastest and largest shut down action we've taken," said OCC Spokesperson Matt Skinner. 
OCC officials said they're expecting the disposal wells to be shut down within 10 days.
"We're trying to stagger the shutdowns because of warnings from seismologists that some pressure changes could cause larger earthquakes," said Skinner.
  Over the last year the OCC has been working to control induced earthquakes by limiting the number of active wells. Seismologists believe many of Oklahoma's earthquakes are induced, however they don't think the strong earthquakes the state is being hit with have anything to do with the final processes of drilling oil.
“The problem is the huge increase in oil and gas wastewater that’s being disposed underground, most particularly in the Arbuckle formation. While those disposal wells do dispose of wastewater from hydraulic fracturing," said Skinner,  "The amount of that fluid is statistically insignificant compared to the disposal of what’s called “produced water.” That is water that already exists deep underground, and it comes up with the oil and natural gas as the producing oil and gas well operates.”
 Stieber believes there has to be another way to get oil.
"There must be a solution to that and still be able to get our oil. Maybe we need to go back to the old way, drill straight down," said Stieber. 
To find out more information about the actions OCC is taking visit:

The earthquake, centered near Pawnee, caused minor damage to the town, even causing brick to fall from a bank.

Several videos captured the shaking the moment the 5.6 magnitude earthquake struck.


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