Last Monday, August 25, 2014, Texas Railroad Commission seismologist Craig Pearson testified before the Texas House of Representatives. Pearson noted that researchers from Southern Methodist University continue to track ongoing, extremely low-grade seismic activity in North Texas, which he called “micro-earthquakes.”
Pearson continued, stating that the Commission believes that it is a “change in pressure that’s affecting existing faults in the earth and allowing them to move and cause earthquake[s].” He said that one of the proposed rule amendments would require injection well operators to calculate the magnitude and physical extent of pressure increases their wells cause to rock formations, which may in turn help the Railroad Commission identify the potential for induced seismicity. This is part of an overall effort by the Commission to systematically analyze injection well risks instead of dealing with issues on an ad hoc basis as they arise.
Notably, the Texas Oil and Gas said it has some “initial concerns” about the rule amendments, but that is has not yet finalized comments on the proposal.
For further analysis, see our previous post on the proposed rule amendments.
This post was written by Barclay Nicholson (firstname.lastname@example.org or 713.651.3662) from Norton Rose Fulbright’s Energy Practice Group.