Oklahoma Corporation Commission Shuts Down Injection Well After Earthquake

Wednesday, February 4th 2015, 6:41 pm

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission directs SandRidge to shut down a disposal well in Alfalfa County after a 4.0 magnitude earthquake hit the area last Friday.

The well is operated by SandRidge and was shut down as part of the Corporation Commission's earthquake response. Right now, they have 10 disposal wells permitted as “yellow light”. Two of those wells have been shut down.

The area surrounding the disposal well in Alfalfa County has had a lot of seismic activity which is why it was considered a yellow light permit.

Wells are permitted as yellow light if they are:

- within 3 miles of a seismically active fault

- within 3 miles of a stressed fault, even in the absence of seismicity

- within 6 miles of an earthquake "swarm"

Another major seismic event within a six mile radius and the Corporation Commission will direct the owner, in this case SandRidge to shut down the well.

“We don't know what's something to worry about and what's something not to worry about so if we're going to error, we're going to error on the side of caution,” said Matt Skinner with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.

In response to the shutdown SandRidge issued this statement:

"We maintain a solid record of safety, cooperation and compliance with regulatory authorities and as we do with all OCC requests, we are working closely with commission staff to provide them with any and all relevant information needed to quickly address this routine review."

Skinner said the next step is a technical conference with the operator. But if allowed to restart, the well would be under reduced operating pressure as a precaution.

“There is no more important issue facing us right now is this and the commissioners are in agreement,” said Skinner. “This is our number one issue.”

In November, the Corporation Commission also shut down a disposal well operated by Devon in Payne County.