Middle East

Hydraulic Fracturing Under the Gun: The Latest Earthquake in the United States

A magnitude 4.5 quake that shook the Permian basin in Texas on Monday night told local oil producers to delay or stop underground wastewater injections that regulators believe could cause tremors. May apply pressure.

The third-largest earthquake that struck Texas in the last decade was the latest in a surge in tremors associated with the treatment of wastewater, a by-product of oil and gas production, near Stanton. Wastewater injection can cause earthquakes by changing the pressure around the fault line.
It also occurs shortly after the State Railroad Commission, which regulates the oil industry, has stopped injecting water into deep wells in northwestern Midlands amid a surge in seismic activity.

The Commission on Tuesday said it had contacted disposal well operators in the Permian-affected areas and sent inspectors to the facility.

The Monday quake occurred in an area already being investigated by the Commission to increase seismic activity. According to water data and analysis firm B3Insight, injection interruptions around the epicenter can affect about 18 active wells, each processing an average of 9,600 bpd.

B3 CEO Kelly Bennett said the affected areas “have higher utilization of deep disposal than the rest of the Permian basin, about 50% higher.”

After oil regulators have begun to impose restrictions, Permian oil operators are already looking for ways to reduce wastewater injections. Solutions include recycling wastewater and trucking to other locations.

“If they can’t do that, they may have no choice but to close these wells and choke production,” said Thomas Jacob, vice president of oilfield services research at consultancy Ristad. He added that the stoppage was a last resort.

According to Rystad, ConocoPhillips has 15 disposal wells in the area where the injection was interrupted, and rival Pioneer Natural Resources has eight wells. Both Chevron and Coterra have experienced a reduction in disposal capacity of more than 400,000 barrels / day as a result of the restrictions imposed by the Railroad Commission.

Analysts warned that Texas regulators are closely monitoring other areas where seismic activity surges and may impose additional restrictions on saltwater treatment, especially as earthquakes intensify.

Fredrik Klaveness, CEO of NLB Water, a provider of water treatment and recycling solutions to the oil industry, said:

(Reuters)

https://www.oedigital.com/news/493157-fracking-under-the-gun-latest-quake-in-u-s-oilfield-raises-scrutiny-of-drilling-waste-injections Hydraulic Fracturing Under the Gun: The Latest Earthquake in the United States

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