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For the past five years, biochemist Zac Hildenbrand has investigated potential links between unconventional drilling and water quality, collecting thousands of samples throughout the major shale plays in Texas.
In Kern County, the shaking topped out on Sept. 22, 2005, with three quakes, the biggest magnitude 4.6, researchers said.
The Houston-based oil field services company launched an investigation of its chemicals and data analysis software after an Australian fund manager in November disputed the accuracy of Flotek’s self-reported results.
The quakes, which have been mostly small to medium sized, have caused limited damage, and no one foresees anything like the massive damage and deaths in the famous quakes in California, seismologists say.
The Oklahoma Geological Survey has said it is “very likely” that most earthquakes are triggered by the subsurface injection of wastewater from the drilling operations.
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission issued a voluntary directive to a dozen energy companies Dec. 3 after the Medford and Cherokee area felt a swarm of earthquakes, including a 4.7-magnitude quake.
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission, which regulates the state’s oil and natural gas industry, on Monday ordered five wastewater injection wells to reduce volume after a swarm of quakes.
An EPA spokeswoman said the agency will use comments from the scientists and the public to “evaluate” possible changes to the report.
Quakes have been on the rise in Oklahoma following a boom in oil and gas activity — state officials have blamed the seismic activity on an increase in wastewater injections in drilling areas.
The quake struck at 5:39 a.m. near the city of Edmond, which is a suburb north of Oklahoma City, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Geological Survey.