State Regulators Announce Response To Recent Edmond Earthquakes

Monday, January 4th 2016, 7:01 pm
By: Alex Cameron

State regulators announced restrictions on more disposal wells Monday, in response to the 4-plus magnitude earthquakes that rattled homes and nerves in Edmond last week.

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission released a directive which calls for volume reductions of 25 to 50 percent at five disposal wells that are located within three to ten miles of the epicenter of a 4.3 magnitude earthquake in northeast Edmond on Dec. 29.

The quake, which hit at 5:39 a.m., was responsible for minor to moderate damage at several homes.

The USGS reported a 4.2 magnitude earthquake three days later, Jan. 1, in nearly the same location and at almost exactly the same time.

Under the OCC's current protocol, any disposal wells within 0 to 3 miles of a magnitude 4 or greater earthquake would be requested to shut down. No wells met that criterion with regard to this latest quake.

1/4/2016 Related Story: Rapidly Rising Water Level At Arcadia Lake May Have Triggered Edmond Earthquake

Under previous directives, which the OCC began issuing last July, nearly two dozen disposal wells have been called on to cease operations. The directives, however, are not mandatory, and one operator, SandRidge Energy, has chosen not to comply.

Two OCC directives in late November requested SandRidge shut in six disposal wells that are in close proximity to the epicenters of 4-plus magnitude earthquakes that shook northern Oklahoma around Thanksgiving.

SandRidge, through a spokesman, has said that it continues "to work closely with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission” and that “We look forward to addressing this issue through OCC's established rules and procedures, which will ensure decisions are based on scientific analysis.”

The Corporation Commission is preparing a case in an effort to force SandRidge to cease operation of the six wells. An OCC spokesman has acknowledged, however, they are hampered by the fact that the state currently does not have a seismologist on staff.