On Friday, November 20, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission issued volume reduction plans for areas near Crescent and Cherokee that experienced seismic activity last week. These plans are the latest in a series of similar measures taken by the state to control injection volumes of produced water and wastewater in various areas.
The Crescent area plan calls for four disposal wells within three miles of seismic activity to stop operations. The plan also calls for a 50 percent injection volume reduction for seven disposal wells within three to six miles of the observed seismic activity that inject into the Arbuckle formation. In addition, operators of wells within six to ten miles of the seismic activity were put on notice that the Commission may adjust their operations, although no action has yet been taken.
Similarly, the Cherokee-Carmen area plan calls for two disposal wells to stop operations, and for injection volume reductions at 23 other wells. The net volume reduction totals 40 percent. In addition, disposal wells within 10 to 15 miles of the observed seismic activity were placed on notice to prepare for possible changes to operations.
These plans are a part of the state’s “traffic light” system put into place in 2013 that the Commission has described as being “in a state of constant evolution since then, as new data becomes available.” The Oklahoma Corporation Commission’s Oil and Gas Conservation Director Tim Baker has praised the energy industry throughout the development of the system for operators’ continuing “extraordinary effort, support, and cooperation.”