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  1. #1

    Default 2016 Earthquake Discussion

    Might have to start making these monthly.

    http://okcfox.com/news/oklahoma-eart...ame-for-quakes

  2. #2

    Default Re: 2016 Earthquake Discussion

    Well, looks like Edmond is doing the Edmond thing:

    Edmond residents file earthquake lawsuit against 12 oil companies | News OK

  3. #3

    Default Re: 2016 Earthquake Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by d-usa View Post
    Well, looks like Edmond is doing the Edmond thing:

    Edmond residents file earthquake lawsuit against 12 oil companies | News OK
    I posted this in the political discussion thread, but I agree with this lawsuit actually.

  4. #4

    Default Re: 2016 Earthquake Discussion

    I'm torn on this one. I agree that the oil companies should shoulder liability to some extent, but to what extent? While studies have been done and articles written describing how waste water injection is partially to blame for the increased shaking, can the residents prove that ALL of the quakes are attributable to the operation? I think it's kind of evident that the injections kick-started this, it's hard to prove exactly how many are due to this and how many are due to normal geological occurrences (like the increased water levels in Arcadia). I'm afraid they're going to drain their savings fighting an uphill battle.

  5. #5

    Default Re: 2016 Earthquake Discussion

    I'm going to do the same as PluPan and repost this. It never belonged in the political thread anyway.
    This is very important to me.

    There's no question, in at least my mind, that the USGS has known for a very long while now that Oklahoma is at a greater risk than has been publicly discussed. Dan McNamara with the USGS (he's in charge of keeping the eagle eye on Oklahoma's quake situation) has stressed lately that the unknown fault lines, that were not even known about until the recent reactivation, have no "upper limit" until there can be more research. Again - think on this - they hesitate to talk to the press and give "upper limits" on these newly discovered fault lines - because they don't know. They already discussed in early 2014 that there's nothing that could stop the situation then from producing a 6.0 quake and things are worse now.

    Consider:

    * A magnitude 5.6 quake, just like the 2011 quake, under a densely built populated area - in Oklahoma - could be "devastating." Words from USGS - not mine.

    * A magnitude 5.6 quake is equivalent to nearly 4000 tons of TNT - 2000 times stronger than the Oklahoma City bombing.
    (A thought experiment: put that same awful Ryder truck out 25 miles NNE of Shawnee at the epicenter of our 2011 quake and you wouldn't have seen much damage. Now, imagine a quake 2000 times stronger than the bombing near downtown Oklahoma City knowing what the truck bomb did.)

    * This new fault line was unknown just a month ago. They cannot put an "upper limit" on a potential large earthquake. But, according to McNamara, for that fault to be producing quakes the size we're having now does not bode well for the NEAR future.

    * A hypothetical 6.6 earthquake would be ten times stronger than our 5.6 in 2011.
    This is why these Oklahoma quakes worry the professionals. Oklahoma quakes have far more damage potential in populated areas because of our building codes and materials. Damage equivalency in a populated area with same-magnitude quakes in California can't really be made - nobody knows. And remember, another 5.6 under a populated area would be bad enough.

    * This latest unknown fault line inside the metropolitan area (Edmond) is a strike-slip fault. The waste injection has literally "greased the skids."

    A seismic researcher personally told me that there are so many unknowns in this Oklahoma swarm with reactivated fault lines, etc. (and earthquakes in general) that Donald Rumsfeld's famous risk management quote is actually framed in this researcher's office. If you don't remember, it's quite brilliant really in assessing any risk management:

    "Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns the ones we don't know we don't know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones."
    - Donald Rumsfeld - 12 February 2002

    It's time to get serious - state government, city governments, media, schools, business, individuals. As many of us were recently told, "It's not alarmist at all - it's a new and dangerous reality - unthinkable not very long ago. But, here we are."

  6. #6

    Default Re: 2016 Earthquake Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by jompster View Post
    I'm torn on this one. I agree that the oil companies should shoulder liability to some extent, but to what extent? While studies have been done and articles written describing how waste water injection is partially to blame for the increased shaking, can the residents prove that ALL of the quakes are attributable to the operation? I think it's kind of evident that the injections kick-started this, it's hard to prove exactly how many are due to this and how many are due to normal geological occurrences (like the increased water levels in Arcadia). I'm afraid they're going to drain their savings fighting an uphill battle.
    This is the exact same argument that the cigarette companies made 30 years ago... "Smoking doesn't cause cancer. Oh wait, it does? Well, you can't prove this particular cigarette from that particular company caused your specific cancer."

    In that case the government sued the entire industry, took a huge chunk of money from them, and set it aside to help the very problem they caused.

    So here's a far more quickly working idea: Tax them all. Use the tax funds to setup a giant rainy day fund that supplements insurance company escrows when unprofitable. Pay benefits directly to homeowners who aren't fully compensated. Enact regulations to stop the really crazy stuff like injecting right on top of a fault line. Give the Corporation Commission actual power instead of their current ability to "strongly suggest" something and then when that doesn't work deal with a multi year ordeal in the court system.

  7. #7

    Default Re: 2016 Earthquake Discussion

    ^^^^ This. Also add that the CC be made a non partisan office with a complete ban on any regulated industry being able to make campaign contributions or gifts to any sitting member. I would also like to see a provision that members must not have been employed in regulated industries 5 years or less prior to holding office.

  8. #8

    Default Re: 2016 Earthquake Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Questor View Post
    This is the exact same argument that the cigarette companies made 30 years ago... "Smoking doesn't cause cancer. Oh wait, it does? Well, you can't prove this particular cigarette from that particular company caused your specific cancer."

    In that case the government sued the entire industry, took a huge chunk of money from them, and set it aside to help the very problem they caused.

    So here's a far more quickly working idea: Tax them all. Use the tax funds to setup a giant rainy day fund that supplements insurance company escrows when unprofitable. Pay benefits directly to homeowners who aren't fully compensated. Enact regulations to stop the really crazy stuff like injecting right on top of a fault line. Give the Corporation Commission actual power instead of their current ability to "strongly suggest" something and then when that doesn't work deal with a multi year ordeal in the court system.
    Very true... I agree with you 100% on that idea.

  9. Default Re: 2016 Earthquake Discussion

    Unknown fault lines? What exactly were all the O&G Geologist doing? They don't know what a fault line looks like?

  10. #10

    Default Re: 2016 Earthquake Discussion

    Let's just hope these don't keep moving south regardless of what triggers them.

  11. #11

    Default Re: 2016 Earthquake Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Just the facts View Post
    Unknown fault lines? What exactly were all the O&G Geologist doing? They don't know what a fault line looks like?
    You don't see fault lines unless you have special subsurface data. It doesn't usually cover large areas. These faults are generally small, so detecting them is difficult. Also, the lines you see on the recent maps are just an interpretation with really sparse data. Faults aren't usually straight line segments that abruptly start and end...

  12. #12

    Default Re: 2016 Earthquake Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Just the facts View Post
    Unknown fault lines? What exactly were all the O&G Geologist doing? They don't know what a fault line looks like?
    You don't see fault lines unless you have special subsurface data. It doesn't usually cover large areas. These faults are generally small, so detecting them is difficult. Also, the lines you see on the recent maps are just an interpretation with really sparse data. Faults aren't usually straight line segments that abruptly start and end...

  13. #13

    Default Re: 2016 Earthquake Discussion

    IF (big if) the current rate of M4.0s for this year keeps up, Oklahoma will be on track for 140-150 of them in 2016.

    https://twitter.com/...f_src=twsrc^tfw


  14. #14

  15. Default Re: 2016 Earthquake Discussion

    Very nice! If only our lawmakers weren't so deep in the wells that they can't see daylight and could do this, it's not that hard... *And* they did it almost a *year* ago!

  16. Default Re: 2016 Earthquake Discussion

    I heard Mickey Thompson talking about the Arkansas quakes the other day. The big difference is that Arkansas has a very small oil field where this was occurring. Oklahoma has much larger footprint.

    I still say the problems are due to the high water volume from the Mississippi Lime. They need to pipe it to SWD wells to the southwest, away from the faults.

  17. Default Re: 2016 Earthquake Discussion

    I immediately tune out articles and commentary about induced seismicity that use "fracking" in the title or prominently in the article itself. Using that term betrays either an agenda, or ignorance regarding the differences between fracking and injection wells, or both. I have no connection whatsoever to the industry, but if you pay even casual attention you should know the differences. I prefer to get my information from people who actually know more than I do.

  18. Default Re: 2016 Earthquake Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by C_M_25 View Post
    You don't see fault lines unless you have special subsurface data. It doesn't usually cover large areas. These faults are generally small, so detecting them is difficult. Also, the lines you see on the recent maps are just an interpretation with really sparse data. Faults aren't usually straight line segments that abruptly start and end...
    My understanding is that oil companies have some pretty elaborate 3D imaging technology. Is it that they can't see them or can see them but aren't looking for them.

  19. Default Re: 2016 Earthquake Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Urbanized View Post
    I immediately tune out articles and commentary about induced seismicity that use "fracking" in the title or prominently in the article itself. Using that term betrays either an agenda, or ignorance regarding the differences between fracking and injection wells, or both. I have no connection whatsoever to the industry, but if you pay even casual attention you should know the differences. I prefer to get my information from people who actually know more than I do.
    Holy cow yes this. I will admit I do have a connection to the industry, by way of my stepfather, but seriously. Fracking is only incidental to the earthquake problem - a frac'd well does NOT cause earthquakes, nor does the process of hydraulic fracturing. There are legitimate environmental concerns from this process, but earthquakes aren't one of them. The process does generate waste water that must be recycled or disposed of - typically by injecting it deep underground. However, the amount of frac water being disposed of doesn't hold a candle to the sheer volume of salty brine coming out of many wells that has to go somewhere. I'm pretty sure it's been mentioned elsewhere, but some wells produce as many as 10 barrels of saltwater for every barrel of oil. That's a TON of water that needs to go somewhere - and it gets injected back into the ground. Fracking isn't the cause of quakes - it's wastewater injection.

  20. Default Re: 2016 Earthquake Discussion

    When I hear someone say 'fracking' I take it to mean the entire process from breaking up the rock to disposing of the waste by-products, even if we all know it is the disposal part causing the problem. Kind of like drunk driving includes both drinking and driving, eventhough driving is the problem part of it.

    As for wastewater volumes from different drilling types, I think it is safe to say that eartquakes increased with the adoption of widespread fracking. Maybe there is something in fracking wastewater that isn't in other wastewater.

  21. #21

    Default Re: 2016 Earthquake Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Bellaboo View Post
    I heard Mickey Thompson talking about the Arkansas quakes the other day. The big difference is that Arkansas has a very small oil field where this was occurring. Oklahoma has much larger footprint.

    I still say the problems are due to the high water volume from the Mississippi Lime. They need to pipe it to SWD wells to the southwest, away from the faults.
    Shh.. don't point out differences between the states. That just proves you're in the pocket of the O & G industry.

  22. Default Re: 2016 Earthquake Discussion

    ^^^^^^^
    So produced water doesn't occur in non-fracced wells? I'll answer that for you...it most certainly does. Produced water is almost entirely naturally occurring. The thing that has changed is that injection wells have now become the preferred method of disposal. As in, let's put it back down there where it came from. The problem seems to come from the fact that some injection wells are too deep, inject too fast, and too near some fault lines. Those things are of course correctable. But "fracking" has just become shorthand among people who want leverage against oil and gas production in general. The way it is being used is intellectually dishonest, or at the very least, ignorant. And by the way, fraccing has been going on for something approaching 70 years.

  23. Default Re: 2016 Earthquake Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Just the facts View Post
    When I hear someone say 'fracking' I take it to mean the entire process from breaking up the rock to disposing of the waste by-products, even if we all know it is the disposal part causing the problem. Kind of like drunk driving includes both drinking and driving, eventhough driving is the problem part of it.

    As for wastewater volumes from different drilling types, I think it is safe to say that eartquakes increased with the adoption of widespread fracking. Maybe there is something in fracking wastewater that isn't in other wastewater.
    I totally get where you're coming from, but the thing is, fracking still isn't the main problem here. First, there are two main sources of wastewater: Produced water, and fracking fluid. Fracking fluid is injected into a well under high pressure to frac the rock, in order to expose and produce more oil/gas. Produced water, on the other hand, is naturally-occurring and actually comes from the oil-bearing formation. Practically all oil and gas wells will produce water over their lifetimes - some much more so than others. For instance, in 2007, American oil and natural gas wells produced 5 million barrels of oil and 67 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day, according to researchers at the Argonne National Laboratory. These same wells also produced 55 million barrels of water each day. That's been estimated as being something close to 7.5 barrels of water for each barrel of oil, or 260 barrels of water for every million cubic feet of natural gas. (source:Water is the biggest output of U.S. oil and gas wells: Kemp | Reuters) Those numbers are from the very beginning of the shale oil revolution, and are almost certainly much higher today. Petroleum production produces a staggering amount of water that vastly exceeds the amount of water recovered from a freshly frac'd well.

    The cause-and-effect relationship is not nearly as direct as it seems at first blush. Yes, earthquakes increased with greater use of hydraulic fracturing - but the greater use of fracking came about because of the higher number of wells being drilled, and all these new wells just added to the volume of produced water that needed to be disposed of. Here's a very, very good article from Time Magazine that explains why the distinction between fracking and wastewater injection is important: Deep Disposal Wells From Drilling?Not Fracking?Linked to Quakes | TIME.com

  24. Default Re: 2016 Earthquake Discussion

    Just to be clear, I totally understand that the earthquakes are being caused by the injection of wastewater, but why did this start after the widespread use of fracking as an extraction method if fracking water is a small fraction of the total?

    And saying we have been fracking for 70 years is just as disingenuous as anything from the opposition. It is like saying we have been landing on the moon since the 60's.

    Let's ponder this - let's say every drop of water from every fracked well had to be stored in an above ground tank and not one drop could be injected. Would earthquakes from injection eventually drop back to normal historic levels?

  25. Default Re: 2016 Earthquake Discussion

    Fracking and wastewater disposal both *have* been in widespread use for quite a long time. There's absolutely nothing disingenuous about that. What many see as the "widespread use of fracking" is really just an increase in the number of new and active wells that are being drilled and then frac'd to maximize output. There has been an explosion in the number of new wells drilled and frac'd since 2007, greatly increasing the number of active wells. A significantly greater number of active wells produces a significantly greater amount of produced water on a continuing basis that must be disposed of - and that's where this large volume of water comes from.

    You also have to consider the wells themselves. Most disposal wells within this state inject water into the Arbuckle Formation, which is very, very deep under the earth's crust. For reasons that are not really understood, this formation is underpressured - basically, it readily accepts water at a much lower pressure than most other formations - but it is in close proximity to basement rock where many of Oklahoma's fault lines are found. It is believed that the water injected into the Arbuckle formation is finding it's way into these faults and lubricating them.

    Stanford University did a study not too long ago on this very topic - a summary article can be found here: Oklahoma earthquakes linked to oil and gas wastewater disposal wells, say Stanford researchers. This study was the primary motivator behind the OGS finally linking wastewater injection to the earthquakes this state has experienced. The article is a VERY good read and can better explain what I typed above.

    As to your question, it depends on what you mean precisely. Do you mean that we could not dispose of just the water used to frac the wells (known as flowback water)? Or do you mean that over the entire lifetime of the wells, not one drop of water that the well naturally produced could be disposed of by injection? If you mean the former, then earthquakes will absolutely continue. If you meant the latter - which is essentially a moratorium on all wastewater injection - current data seems to suggest that earthquakes would return to their normal historic levels.

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