Oklahoma Injection Wells Closed or Reduced After 4.2 Magnitude Quake

February 22, 2021

The injection of wastewater into underground wells by oil and natural gas producers has been stopped or reduced in the area where a magnitude 4.2 earthquake struck in northern Oklahoma early on Feb. 19.

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission has directed disposal wells within three miles of the quake’s epicenter to stop operations and those from three to 10 miles of the epicenter to reduce volume by at least 50%.

There were no injuries or damage reported from the quake that was recorded at 7:56 a.m. near Manchester, a town of about 100 residents along the Oklahoma-Kansas state line about 100 miles (161 kilometers) north of Oklahoma City.

The commission took similar action earlier this month after a series of earthquakes, including one also of magnitude 4.2, about 55 miles (89 kilometers) southeast of the seismic activity.

The Feb. 19 directive affects 16 disposal wells and is estimated by the commission to reduce the volume of wastewater disposal by about 7,000 barrels a day.

Grant County Commissioner Max Hess, whose district includes Manchester, said no injuries or damage were reported.

The rural area in northern Oklahoma is about 55 miles (89 kilometers) northwest of where a recent series of earthquakes were recorded. Geologists say those quakes were likely connected to the underground injection of wastewater that is produced by oil and gas companies.

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