Facts, Not Fiction

 
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    Oklahoma Earthquakes
    #1
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    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2...ells/78421444/

    "The OGS considers it very likely that the majority of recent earthquakes, particularly those in central and north-central Oklahoma, are triggered by the injection of produced water in disposal wells," the agency said.

    This has happened other places including within less than 40 miles from where I live and I also am convinced waste water injection wells are a likely cause. Of course in Texas and Oklahoma the oil and gas industry has an enormous amount of political pull and the odds of anything useful (such as shutting down a decent number of waste water injection wells) seems like a long shot at least in the next few years.
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    #2
    I came across some of this info., when we were discussing earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, asteroids, etc., last week. Oklahoma now has more 3.0+ earthquakes than the rest of the USA combined, not counting Alaska. And more than any other place in the World, actually. As recently as 2008, there were a grand total of 2 earthquakes (3.0+) in the state, and last year something in the range of 850 ! Boone Pickens, who of course has made his billions in oil and gas, denies there is any correlation between fracking and earthquakes. As least he did a few months back, don't know if he's changed his story yet or not.
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    #3
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    The Oklahoma Corporation Commission has already ordered shut-in of some disposal wells and reduced input into others in proximity to fault epticenters.

    Current conventional wisdom is that disposal water is lubicating faults in the Arbuckle (Cambrian), the formation immediately overlying the Pre-Cambfian granite, causing them to release stored up tension.
    The Arbuckle is thin and, in some places absent, on the crest of the Nemaha Ridge, a major subsurface structure which extends/plunges/narrows over some 800 miles from north central Nebraska to Southern Oklahoma. it is a major oil reservoir, particularly in Kansas, where anticlines and karst topography create oil traps above water level.

    In North Central Oklahoma, it varies from 200-300 feet thick on the crest of the Nemaha to over 1000' thick on the flanks and is itself an inexhaustable saltwater acquifer. Much of the disposal water is recycled Missippian and Arbuckle water used in the fracking process. Most current drilling/fracking in the quake areas is horizontal drilling for new Mississipian production in old, largely depleted areas which produced from vertical wells, some drilled a century ago.

    Deeper in the Anadarko Basin, other horizontal wells are being drilled to exploit complex stratigraphic Pennsylvanian sands and granite washes. some of these wells are 13,000 to 20,000 feet deep. Many are drilled to granite basement but have not been associated with quakes.

    Which causes one to wonder, aren't these Arbuckle faults already lubricated?

    The puzzling thing is not all these epicenters are in disposal well areas.. and are deepseated, 25,000 to 40,000 feet below the surface, whereas few disposal wells are more than 4,000 to 5,000 feet deep.

    The presence of deep seated faults can only be inferred or interpreted by seismic or well bores omitting or duplicating formations or abrupt drop off or rise of formations in adjacent wells. Many producing fields are trapped by faults sealing the updip limits of porous/permeable oil bearing formations.

    i do not know and no one can say with certainity that frac water disposal is responsible for the swarm of earthquake. Oklahoma has had hundreds(thousands) of minor 3.2 -4.2 earthquakes and three 5.0 plus quakes since people started keeping track, admittedly not in the numbers now being reported. And, the 5.0 plus quakes were not in disposal areas. Maybe earthquakes cause earthquakes.

    Earth is a constantly evolving planet. Nothing is permanent. All the mountians, deserts forests, seas and geomorphic and structural features we see today are recent, geologically speaking, and temporary; the result of continental drift, volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, erosion...

    Maybe Earth is just shrugging...or having a twitchy leg episode.
    Last edited by lonewolf; 01-08-2016 at 02:19 AM.
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    #4
    With oil going under $34 per barrel, I suspect we will see a lot less fracking over the next couple years so we will see if the earthquakes,happen less frequently.
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    #5
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    There has already been a drastic reduction in number of wells drilled and fracked since oil prices crashed in June 2014. Curiously, earthquakes have increased as drilling/fracking declines.
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    #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by lonewolf View Post
    The Oklahoma Corporation Commission has already ordered shut-in of some disposal wells and reduced input into others in proximity to fault epticenters.
    Sure wish the Texas Regulators had the balls to do the same.
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    #7
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    Full disclosure ( and further muddying the water) and purely anecdotal.

    For the past 12-15 years I have been involved in drilling a number of wells in two areas in Oklahoma 200 miles apart in different geologic circumstances.

    The first is in southern Oklahoma in the Arbuckle "Mountains", the central portion of the East-West uplifted and complexly faulted Ouachita-Wichita mountain range, which currently experiences occasional minor earthquakes but must have been a turbulent environment in millenia past.


    These wells are multi-pay, directional but not horizontally drilled from multi-well pads, and all were fracked
    We have drilled about thirty wells on 160 acre spacing in this faulted field. About ten years ago, before the current "blame the frack" era, there was a noticeable but not damaging earthquake a few days after we fracked the eighth well in this play. There was immediate finger pointing at us. Since that initial rumble, we have drilled and fracked twenty wells into the Arbuckle and disposed into the Arbuckle and basement, with no more earthquakes.

    The other area is in north-central Oklahoma, near the Kansas border and a few miles east of the earthquake prone area. This project occupies the crest of a faulted structue which is the trap for a largely depleted century old oil field. The Arbuckle is 800-1000 feet thick at this location.We have drilled ten high volume production wells and eight large diameter disposal wells, deep into the Arbuckle.
    We have produced and disposed, into Arbuckle vacuum, up to 240,000 bbls water per day, skimming a small percentage of oil, enough natural gas to operate remaining original field wells and extracting bromine.

    This project has been producing since 2009. It should be a classic fault inducing set up. High volume disposal, faulted structure; yet, we have had no earthquakes near or attributed to our wells. I do not know if it is a factor but we are on the crest of the Nemeha and most of the swarms seem to be on the flanks.
    Or, maybe we have a Guardian Angel.

    This venture is actually the first phase of a bigger project to build a plant to extract magnesium and seven other elements from Arbuckle brine. Venture capitalist required us to demonstrate that we could sustain production of 180,000 to 200,000 BWPD.
    We did that. It has proven highly profitable in itself but we are looking forward to the next phase.
    Last edited by lonewolf; 01-08-2016 at 03:58 AM.
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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by lonewolf View Post
    There has already been a drastic reduction in number of wells drilled and fracked since oil prices crashed in June 2014. Curiously, earthquakes have increased as drilling/fracking declines.
    There could be a lag here.
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    #9
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    There could be a lag but consider we have been fracking for more than 80 years and disposing water forever with minimal routine earthquakes.
    If there was an 80 year lag in cause/effect hopefully it will not take 80 years to taper off.
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    #10
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    Two interesting postings, lonewolf.

    It is my understanding that the volume and pressures currently used in fracking are much greater than before. You mentioned the hypothesis of 'lubrication', etc. Assuming that there are a number of small joints in general, is the lubrication of them leading to a 'relief' of minor pressures that would stay longer and thus, likely a faster mover to equilibrium/stasis and hence a bit of a 'short-run' situation (very short run in geological terms) but not necessarily short in terms of years (e.g., could be 20).
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