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Barnett Injection Well Data Released for Quake Research

One month after Texas lawmakers heard an appeal from academic researchers for injection well data they said would help them determine the cause of small earthquakes in Barnett Shale country, the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) delivered the first data sets via its public website.

"Posting of the information to the commission's website is part of our continued effort to ensure the public is informed of our efforts to scientifically investigate seismic events in Texas," said the RRC's seismologist, David Craig Pearson, who was hired in March to look into the seismic activity (see Shale DailyMarch 28).

On May 6, the RRC requested data from seven oil and gas operators with active injection wells in northeast Parker County, northwest Tarrant County and southeast Wise County. The intent is to assist academic researchers in understanding whether oil and gas operations may be related to recent seismic activity observed in the area. A series of small earthquakes occurred in the Azle area between November and January, and residents have been seeking answers from the RRC.

Operators responding to the data request to date includeBridgeport Tank Trucks LLC, Devon Energy Production Co., LP, Enervest Operating LLC, Finley Resources Inc. and XTO Energy. The information they provided is not considered to be proprietary in nature, RRC said.

About two weeks after the RRC's data request to operators, the Texas House Committee on Energy Resources Subcommittee on Seismic Activity held its first hearing (see Shale DailyMay 14). At the meeting, Pearson reported on his data request to operators, and Azle Mayor Alan Brundrett told lawmakers of his dissatisfaction with the RRC's response to the seismic activity to date. He recalled a January meeting at RRC headquarters that drew a crowd of about 800 with complaints about seismic activity (see Shale DailyJan. 21). Area residents attending the meeting in Austin called on commissioners to provide data to researchers investigating the quakes.

Injection wells have been blamed for seismic activity in Oklahoma (see Shale DailyOct. 25, 2013) and Ohio (see Shale DailySept. 6, 2013). And fluid extraction related to oil and gas activity has been suspected of seismic activity in the Eagle Ford Shale of South Texas (see Shale DailyAug. 28, 2013).

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