The operators of two natural gas drilling waste disposal wells in Arkansas have agreed with regulators to keep the wells shut in while an ongoing study of their potential link to seismic activity in the area continues (see Shale Daily, March 17).

A meeting scheduled for Tuesday at the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission (AOGC) will only be a short procedural hearing to enter an order presented by AOGC staff on the continuation of the shut-in of the Faulkner County wells. The agreement was accepted by BHP Billiton Petroleum (Fayetteville) LLC and Clarita Operating LLC, operators of the wells.

"No witnesses will testify for any of the parties, and only evidence required for this procedural hearing will be introduced," the AOGC said. The agreement calls for the shut-in of the wells to continue for another 60 days.

"Both BHP and Clarita agreed to accept the [AOGC] director's request for a continued cessation of all injection operations in both wells until the end of the regularly scheduled AOGC hearing beginning on July 26, 2011 in El Dorado, AR, at which time the director will seek further relief from the commission regarding these two disposal wells, as well as the moratorium imposed on any new or additional disposal wells in accordance with Order Nos. 602A-2010-12 and 606A-2010-12," the AOGC said.

AOGC said the Arkansas Geological Survey, which has been investigating the seismic activity, has found no correlation between seismic activity and the drilling, or completion (including fracture stimulation) of production wells.