An oil company drilling in Logan County has been asked to monitor a disposal well more closely after concerns it could affect a nearby earthquake fault line.
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission voted 2-0 Thursday to approve a saltwater disposal well for Slawson Exploration Co. Inc. in northwestern Logan County, about 11 miles north of Crescent.
Commissioner Dana Murphy abstained from the vote, saying she wanted to wait until more seismic data was available.
Four earthquakes in the area were recorded in May, with the closest being a 2.2-magnitude quake on May 22. Several maps included with Slawson’s application show about 40 earthquakes from January to the end of April within several miles of the well. The company said it believes those earthquakes are naturally occurring.
Murphy said the commission regulates injection wells to protect fresh water. Monitoring for seismic activity is a new concern for regulators, she said.
“Now, with the scenario changing, we’ve had to look at different things,” Murphy said.
John O’Dowd, area engineer for Slawson, said the company has spent about $8 million on the disposal well and four horizontal wells that are awaiting completion. Slawson wants to inject up to 15,000 barrels of salt water per day into the disposal well, which will have a maximum depth of about 8,200 feet.
Slawson had a permit to drill a well, but later came to the commission for a permit to make it a disposal well. Murphy called that a risky business decision.
“It seems like it would be important for the company to get to know what the status or situation is ahead of them spending the money to actually drill the well,” Murphy said.
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There’s a lot of thinking and soul-searching involved in this matter. We are aware in Oklahoma of the increased seismic activity, not only in this county but in other places. We take that very seriously.”
Commissioner Bob Anthony,