Oklahoma drilling regulator calls recent spike in quakes a “game changer”
- A spike in earthquakes across Oklahoma is forcing the state’s energy regulator to urgently consider tougher restrictions on drilling activity, calling it a “game changer.”
- During the June 17-24 period, Oklahoma experienced 35 earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater, according to the Oklahoma Geological Survey, with some of the quakes occurring in the Oklahoma City metro area where there are no high-volume wastewater injection wells.
- The spike in quakes comes two months after drillers were ordered by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, which regulates the oil and gas industry, to stop disposing wastewater below the state’s deepest rock formation.
- Oklahoma’s elected officials have been reluctant to shackle an industry that directly generated more than 7% of state revenues last year in the form of production taxes from companies such as Devon Energy (NYSE:DVN), SandRidge Energy (NYSE:SD), Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK) and Continental Resources (NYSE:CLR).