Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Oklahoma's New Fracking Guidelines Aim to Reduce Quake Risk

Oklahoma's new fracking guidelines aim to reduce quake risk (Credit: Click to Enlarge.
Oklahoma is imposing guidelines to reduce the risk of earthquakes caused by hydraulic fracturing in its oil-rich shale formations, the first rules in the state to target the controversial production technique.

The guidelines are aimed at the South Central Oklahoma Oil Province (SCOOP) and Sooner Trend Anadarko Basin Canadian and Kingfisher counties (STACK) formations, which are anticipated to account for most new oil and gas activity in the state, authorities said on Tuesday.

The moves by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission's Oil and Gas Conservation Division and the Oklahoma Geological Survey came as earthquakes in the state have risen sharply since the shale boom and the use of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

The guidelines, which go into effect immediately, include provisions that require producers to implement mitigation plans following an earthquake of magnitude 2.5 or more and to suspend operations following a quake of magnitude 3.5 or greater.

While the guidelines are technically voluntary, the Oklahoma legislature this year gave the Oklahoma Corporation Commission powers to make compliance mandatory.
Oklahoma experienced almost 900 earthquakes magnitude 3.0 or greater in 2015 versus just two or three a year before 2009.  A magnitude 5.0 earthquake in November near Cushing, Oklahoma, the largest oil storage hub in the United States, renewed concerns a quake could damage energy infrastructure.

That earthquake came just two months after a 5.8 magnitude temblor, the strongest on record for the state.

Production in the STACK and SCOOP may rise if oil prices keep rising following a deal last month by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to curb output.

Read more at Oklahoma's New Fracking Guidelines Aim to Reduce Quake Risk

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