We’ve experienced earthquakes for some time in northwest Oklahoma, but now the temblors are getting more attention in the Oklahoma City metro.
Since Dec. 29, there were half a dozen magnitude 3.0 or greater earthquakes near Edmond, including two measuring magnitude 4.0 or greater.
Around 4,400 power outages were reported in Edmond, but it was unclear if they resulted from the temblor.
Meanwhile, we know electrical outages could have contributed to recent earthquakes in the Fairview area, according to Oklahoma Corporation Commission officials. OCC Oil and Gas Division Director Tim Baker believes that may have caused a number of producing wells that were shut in to simultaneously come back online, resulting in a tremendous volume of produced water being disposed into the Arbuckle formation.
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin felt the ground shake the week of Jan. 4, and she called on state officials to react.
“The regulatory authority exists with the (Oklahoma) Corporation Commission,” Fallin told KOCO-TV. “They’ve been making adjustments. They’ve been looking at all the information, and we’re standing by working with them.”
Last December, the OCC had to prepare court action against SandRidge Energy regarding several injection wells the company had not shut down per OCC’s request.
A SandRidge spokesman said the company’s contact with the OCC has been “frequent and collaborative” with a commitment to determine appropriate, responsible actions based on science.
Now some Edmond residents are suing several energy companies with claims that saltwater disposal wells were involved in recent central Oklahoma earthquakes. Angry metro residents chastised policymakers Thursday for not taking action sooner to restrict injection wells.
The scientific consensus is that wastewater injection is somehow a trigger for the increased seismicity in our state.
George Choy, a U.S. Geological Survey seismologist, said scientists still need to learn more about the geology and existence of faults.
As we’ve said before, we certainly prefer respecting the OCC’s regulatory oversight instead of having this issue head to the courtroom.
We urge all parties to respect the authority of the OCC to regulate this seismic situation.