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Oklahoma Orders Wastewater Disposal Curbs in Response to Multiple Quakes

Citing "strong" earthquake activity, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) on Monday ordered reductions for a wastewater disposal well in the Covington/Douglas area of Garfield County as reports since last Friday have identified more than a dozen temblors in the northwestern part of the state.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) recorded an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude 4.3 at 5:22 a.m. Monday, nearly an hour after a magnitude 3.3 quake struck the area near Covington.

The OCC’s Oil and Gas Conservation Division (OGCC) directed a disposal well in the area to reduce volumes being injected into the Arbuckle formation from 17,000 b/d to 5,000 b/d, noting the situation was ongoing and further actions may follow.

An OCC spokesperson told NGI's Shale Daily that there are other wells in the area injecting into the Arbuckle.

"All of our actions in relation to these events have been reductions and/or shut-ins," the spokesperson said. "All of those options are on the table in this case, and there are other Arbuckle disposal wells in the area."

Over the past three years, state officials have shut in scores of wells and ordered reductions in response to swarms of low intensity seismic activity linked to the disposal wells.

The seismic activity has been linked to stepped up drilling activity in Oklahoma’s myriad reservoirs, including the STACK and the SCOOP, aka the Sooner Trend of the Anadarko Basin, mostly in Canadian and Kingfisher counties, and the South Central Oklahoma Oil Province.

Last week, there was a reported easing of small induced quakes in Oklahoma linked to oil and gas activity, while the risks from seismic events remained high, according to a study by the USGS.

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