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Oil Regulators Shut Down Two Disposal Wells After Earthquakes Near Cushing

A map from the Corporation Commission details the quake-related disposal well actions issued on Sept. 18, 2015.
Oklahoma Corporation Commission
A map from the Corporation Commission details the quake-related disposal well actions issued on Sept. 18, 2015.

State oil and gas authorities on Friday limited activity at five disposal wells after a string of earthquakes recorded near the city of Cushing.

A wave of small quakes has struck near the city in recent days. On Friday morning, a magnitude 3.8 to 4.1-magnitude temblor was recorded. No damage has been reported.

The orders apply to five disposal wells located east of the city, which is home to a major storage hub that holds tens of millions of barrels of crude oil. Two disposal wells operated by American Energy-Woodford were shut down; volume cuts were ordered for the other three, including one operated by F.H.A. Investments.

“None of the wells are what we’d consider to be high volume,” said Corporation Commission spokesman Matt Skinner. “They are moderate volume, and each of them has different reasons suggested in the data as to their risk profile.”

Skinner says the agency could expand or scale-back the actions in the Cushing area if the earthquake activity continues or slows. The agency is more frequently issuing quake-related shutdowns and volume cutbacks at disposal wells, which scientists say are likely fueling most of the earthquake activity in Oklahoma.

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Joe was a founding reporter for StateImpact Oklahoma (2011-2019) covering the intersection of economic policy, energy and environment, and the residents of the state. He previously served as Managing Editor of Urban Tulsa Weekly, as the Arts & Entertainment Editor at Oklahoma Gazette and worked as a Staff Writer for The Oklahoman. Joe was a weekly arts and entertainment correspondent for KGOU from 2007-2010. He grew up in Bartlesville, Okla. and studied journalism at the University of Central Oklahoma.
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