The State’s trying to determine if a drop-off in earthquakes is tied to a reduction in oil drilling.
Fracking for oil’s slowed since the winter, and so has the disposal of waste water which is a byproduct of the process.
Nick Powell of the Kansas Independent Oils and Gas Association (KIOGA) notes the state’s placed restrictions on the amount of waste water injected into disposal wells.
Powell said “They’re monitoring that to see if that will help the situation. We will probably see in the next 6 months just what, if any, effect that has on the seismic activity.”
Powell’s not ready to admit waste water disposal from fracking’s responsible for earthquakes in Kansas.
Tandis Bidgoli of the Kansas Geological Survey thinks injection of the waste water underground could be causing the quakes. But she says it’s too early to know for sure.
Bidgoli said “We’re only talking about a few months of data right now. I think if we step back and looked at this over the next year, I would say that would probably be the time at which we could make more definitive correlations.”
Two Kansas counties have experienced 67 temblors of a 3.0 magnitude in the past year, only 15 since April and none in July.
Five areas in Harper and Sumner Counties are linked to a concentration of seismic activity. The Kansas Corporation Commission is restricting the amount of brine (waste saltwater) that can be injected into 23 disposal wells in those five areas.
Injections are limited to 8,000 barrels a day. Powell of KIOGA says it’s possible the volume and pressure of the injections could play a role in seismic activity.