Oklahoma issues directive after earthquake rocks Cushing area

The Oil & Gas Division (OGCD) of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) outlined a new directive in response to recent earthquake activity in Cushing. The Oklahoma Geological Survey rated the earthquake as a magnitude 5.0.

Cushing is a natural gas hub and also features extensive crude oil storage. Gov. Mary Fallin declared a state of emergency for Payne County following the Nov. 6 earthquake that damaged several buildings in downtown Cushing.

OGCD’s plan covers 58 disposal wells that inject into the Arbuckle formation. Four of the disposal wells were shut after an OGCD directive in October 2015 so the total number of wells requiring action as of Nov. 8 was 54.

The directive, covering more than 700 sq miles, called for some injection wells to cease operations while operators of other wells were told to reduce injection volumes.

OGCD said 15 of the Arbuckle disposal wells included in the Nov. 8 directive already were shut in following a Sept. 3 directive.

The latest directive called for 7 more disposal wells to be shut-in and for operators of 16 disposal wells to reduce injection volumes 25% from the last 30-day average. This is in addition to 40% volume reductions imposed earlier this year.

“It is important to note that this plan is an initial response,” OGDC said. “Operators are being warned that work is under way on a broader plan that will encompass a greater area and more Arbuckle disposal wells. Work is expected to take several weeks.”

Magellan Midstream Partners said it temporarily shut pipeline and storage in the Cushing area as a precaution on the evening of Nov. 6. But inspectors found no damage so Magellan Midstream resumed normal operations Nov. 7.

Enbridge also initiated an emergency response plan to check tanks, pipes, motors, pumps, and other equipment.

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