Turn to the nation's most objective and informative daily environmental news resource to learn how the United States and key players around the world are responding to the environmental...
By Paul Stinson
Feb. 17 — Faced with increased levels of seismic activity and ongoing concerns over potential linkages to hydraulic fracturing, a number of states are working together to develop a framework of best practices to regulate saltwater disposal wells, Oklahoma's top environmental official told Bloomberg BNA.
“We spent yesterday talking about induced seismicity and what regulatory framework we should put together—kind of best practices if you will—that the states could use to regulate Class IID injection wells [saltwater disposal wells] as part of a traffic light system,” said Oklahoma Secretary of Energy and Environment Michael Teague.
Speaking by phone from Austin, Texas, Teague offered the comments Feb. 10 following his attendance of an underground injection control conference jointly hosted by the Groundwater Protection Council (GWPC) and the Interstate Oil & Gas Commission.
Additionally, drawing on input from Ohio, Arkansas, Colorado and Texas officials, Teague said a “working group” is in the process of further evolving the currently used traffic light control system of well permitting protocols that would be applied to an instance of induced seismicity.
Taken from a 2012 recommendation from the National Academy of Sciences, under a green light, an operator would be free to inject fluids; under a red light, injection would be stopped to allow for further investigation. Yellow would allow low levels of seismicity but require additional monitoring and mitigation requirements, the academy said.
Serving as something of a traffic light system blueprint or playbook of what needs to be done in terms of data collection, parameter building and public awareness campaigns, Teague said the “end stage” of the process will see the production of “a report that can be shared among the states on a regulatory traffic light system.”
Highlighting a recent instance of the system's use, Teague pointed to the early February state-ordered shut-in of an Alfalfa County disposal well in Northern Oklahoma operated by SandRidge Energy Inc. following a 4.1 magnitude earthquake.
The order marked the second of its kind following the 2013 closure of a disposal well in Love County suspected of triggering a swarm of earthquakes.
Following a 1975-2008 era that saw 56 earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater, Oklahoma registered an estimated 109 earthquakes in that category and more than 500 in 2014, according to Oklahoma Geological Survey data.
“Seismic activity from 2009–2014 far exceeds historic seismicity and, in a few cases, has been correlated to subsurface fluid injection in the midcontinent,” a report published Dec. 30 by the Oklahoma Geological Survey said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Paul Stinson in Austin, Texas, at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at firstname.lastname@example.org
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)