OCC Announces Plan To Reduce Earthquakes In OK

Monday, March 7th 2016, 5:31 pm
By: Karl Torp

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission has announced its new plan to reduce earthquakes in the state.

It’s calling for a reduction in wastewater in disposal wells in an additional 6,000 square miles of the state.

The new area means the OCC is calling for a reduction in 11,000 square miles in western and central Oklahoma

Six hundred wells deep enough to pose an earthquake threat will be affected.

The area stretches from Cleveland County in the south, up to Grant County along the Kansas border, and from Woodward County out west to Creek County in the east.

The goal is to reduce wastewater disposal by 40 percent from 2014 numbers.

The OCC has already started the process.

“We have seen a reduction in seismicity,” said Tim Baker, director of the oil and gas division on the OCC.

The second part includes expanding the area of interest, or AOI, to 15,000 square miles.

New wells have a limit on depth and existing ones may have to plug back.

“We have been locating these wells and asking the operators to plug back,” Baker said.

Building new disposal wells just got more challenging, too.  They'll be subjected to a public hearing and need the vote of Corporation Commissioners themselves.

The Corporation Commission said grants from the secretary of energy and the governor have allowed it to hire five full-time employees to work on the new plan.