Hydraulic Fracturing

Home>Topics>Hydraulic Fracturing
Refine Results
  1. All
  2. Articles
  3. Online Articles
  4. Magazine Articles
  5. Videos
  1. Oil and Gas: After new regulations, Oklahoma's shakes calm down a bit

    In this Sept. 12, 2016 photo, Matt Skinner, public information officer at the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, speaks during a news conference on recent earthquake activity, in Oklahoma City. At rear is a map of the area of activity. An AP analysis shows earthquakes in Oklahoma have been cut in about half since new regulations were put in place to limit wastewater injections into energy wells. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki) WASHINGTON (AP) — The rate of earthquakes in Oklahoma has dropped dramatically since late May, when the state limited wastewater injections into energy wells, an Associated Press statistical analysis shows. And a new scientific study says the state is on its way back to calmer times that prevailed before a huge jump in man-made quakes. For quake-prone parts of Oklahoma, the state ordered what is essentially a 40 percent reduction in injection of the saltwater that scientists generally blame for the massive increase in earthquakes. This year, before the new rules went into effect on May 28, Oklahoma averaged 2.3 quakes a day. Since then the average dropped to 1.3 a day, based on AP's analysis of U.S. Geological Survey data of earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or larger. But some of those fewer post-regulatory quakes have been large and damaging. "Definitely the rate of quakes have gone down," said USGS geophysicist Robert Williams. "At the same time we had more magnitude 5s this year than ever before historically in Oklahoma. It's good news on one hand. It's heading in the right direction, but troubling to see these large damaging quakes in Pawnee and Cushing." Over the last couple years, scientists have linked a dramatic increase in earthquakes in Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas to the practice of injecting wastewater from hydraulic fracturing , or fracking, back underground after drilling for oil and gas . Higher volumes of wastewater injected are connected to more quakes with the fluids adding more pressure to tiny faults. After Kansas regulated wastewater volume in March 2015, a January AP analysis showed that Kansas felt fewer quakes, while less-regulated Oklahoma got more. In response, Oklahoma announced new regulations. This November, Oklahoma had an average of less than a quake per day, though a 5.0 magnitude quake shook the vulnerable Cushing area where massive oil reserves are stored. "The trend is obvious," said Stanford University professor William Ellsworth. He said the AP numbers were similar, but not identical to a trend he calculated using a different database and different size earthquakes. He said the new regulations were partly responsible for the falloff in earthquakes, but he noted there also has been less drilling because of a crash in oil prices. Williams of USGS said it is important to put even the reduced one-a-day quakes in context. Before 2009, Oklahoma averaged one magnitude 3.0 earthquake a year; now it is good news that the rate is down to one a day, he said. In 2015, Oklahoma averaged 2.3 magnitude 3.0 or larger quakes a day. In 2014, it was 1.6 per day. A study published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances by a different Stanford seismologist, Mark Zoback, saw the reduction in Oklahoma quakes and used intricate computer simulations to show that the rate of earthquakes will continue to go down and eventually return to near pre-2009 levels. Williams and Ellsworth, who weren't part of the study, said Zoback's work made sense. "We're not out of the woods yet. There is still a possibility for potentially damaging earthquakes," Zoback said. "It's going to take a few years for the situation to return to normal." Oklahoma officials said they plan to continue the regulations and are expected to release a new directive in the next couple of weeks for the 15,000-square-mile area where strong quakes rattled Pawnee and Cushing. "Obviously the goal is to bring seismicity down to what, for Oklahoma, would be considered a normal level. That's the goal," said Matt Skinner, a spokesman for the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, the agency that oversees oil and gas operations. "Things will take time, but we're going to move ahead with actions that will hopefully make that time sooner rather than later." Oklahoma has had three quakes magnitude 5.0 or larger since 2014, and two of them occurred after the May regulations took effect: The September 5.8 in Pawnee and the November quake in Cushing. Pent-up pressure may be partly to blame, Zoback said. And Williams noted some injecting continues. Mainly, though, "we don't understand the plumbing down there," Williams said.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Fri, 2 Dec 2016

  2. Oil Pirces: US consumers should feel muted impact from rising oil price

    OPEC's decision to cut production gave an immediate boost to oil prices, but the impact on consumers and the U.S. economy is likely to be more modest and gradual.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Fri, 2 Dec 2016

  3. Trump rollback of Obama energy plans may be difficult

    Environmental groups are gearing up to defend Obama's environmental legacy in court

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Tue, 29 Nov 2016

  4. Baker Hughes, private equity to form land pressure pumping firm

    Oil field services firm Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI), Houston private equity firm CSL Capital Management LLC, and West Street Energy Partners LP (WSEP), a fund managed by the merchant banking division of Goldman Sachs, have agreed to form a pure-play North American land pressure pumping company.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Wed, 30 Nov 2016

  1. API-commissioned study backs EPA’s fracing, drinking water findings

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Thu, 17 Nov 2016

  2. Wyoming DEQ finds no frac fluid in groundwater near Pavillion

    Wyoming’s Department of Environmental Quality (WDEQ) did not find evidence that hydraulic fracturing fluids from a nearby natural gas field rose to shallow depths for drinking water and irrigation supplies near the town of Pavillion in 2014, the state agency said on Nov. 7.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Mon, 14 Nov 2016

  3. Victoria introduces legislation to ban gas fracing

    The Victorian government has introduced legislation into parliament to permanently ban hydraulic fracturing for coal seam gas and tight oil and gas resources throughout the state. The government also has moved to extend the moratorium on conventional onshore gas exploration and development until ...

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Tue, 22 Nov 2016

  4. Clean Energy Won’t Stop with Obama Administration, EPA Chief Says

    McCarthy used her speech and subsequent question-and-answer period to offer a spirited defense of EPA policy during the Obama administration.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Wed, 23 Nov 2016

  5. Clean energy won’t end with Obama administration, EPA chief says

    Outgoing EPA administrator defends record in Washington, D.C. address

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Wed, 23 Nov 2016

  6. Oil and Gas: Top Texas official says injection wells can cause quakes

    A top Texas official says it's "possible" oil and gas wastewater being injected deep underground can cause earthquakes.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Thu, 17 Nov 2016

  7. Unconventional Gas: Fracking opponents rally as Maryland prepares regulations

    Opponents of the natural gas drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing are holding events across the state as Maryland environmental regulators prepare to publish proposed rules for issuing permits starting in October.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Tue, 15 Nov 2016

  8. USGS: Permian’s Wolfcamp shale contains 20 billion bbl of oil

    The Wolfcamp shale in the Midland basin portion of Texas’s Permian basin contains an estimated mean of 20 billion bbl of oil, 16 tcf of associated natural gas, and 1.6 billion bbl of NGLs, according to an assessment by the US Geological Survey.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Wed, 16 Nov 2016

Get More Results