Oklahoma tightens disposal well restrictions

23 September 2015, News Wires – Oklahoma regulators have taken more steps to restrict wastewater disposal well operations, fearing water injection might be behind the spike in earthquakes in the state.

VAALCO Energy spud its post-salt Kindele-1 well

Last week, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission’s oil and gas division called on two wells in the Cushing area to stop operations. Three others are required to reduce the volume of water they inject into the ground.

American Energy-Woodford (AEW) operates the two wells to be shut-in and two of the wells ordered to reduce volume. FHA Investments operates the fifth well.

The plan could change as the commission received more data, according to a release.

More recently, the commission delayed decisions on whether to approve eight disposal wells, according to a local report from The Oklahoman.

Commissioners sent back plans for three wells planned by AEW to an administrative law judge. The commissioners struck the action on the five other wells and chose neither to approve nor reject the plans.

Oklahoma has ramped up its restrictions on disposal wells this year after a study from the state’s geological survey linked wastewater injection to a 600-fold increase in earthquakes.

Regulators have added more than 500 wells to an action list since March, requiring operators to reduce volume or to plug back if the wells go below the Arbuckle formation.Some operators have voluntarily shut-in their wells.

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