Within hours of the early Saturday 5.6 quake, the Oklahoma agency tasked with monitoring petroleum practices, has declared a mandated shutdown of all injection wells in a 725 square mile zone.
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission is a 3-person agency who are elected statewide to 6 year terms. Until a year ago, this kind of action never happened, in Oklahoma.
This is a significant industry suppression and real evidence is still hard to come by. With Oklahoma government suffering from a drop in petroleum prices, it's hard to sell a strict and heavy-handed measure unless you can explain a clear and convincing connection between industry practices and geological violence.
“The Oklahoma Corporation Commission's Oil and Gas Division (OGCD) is in the process of implementing a mandatory directive to shut down all Arbuckle disposal wells within a 725 square mile area, based on the location of the earthquake that occurred shortly after 7 a.m. on September 3, 2016 near Pawnee.
The area includes 211 square miles of Osage County, which is outside of OGCD jurisdiction. OGCD is working with the Environmental Protection Agency, which has sole jurisdiction over disposal wells in Osage County. The EPA will determine what action to take in that area,” Skinner wrote.
“The action in the area will involve a total of 37 wells. The schedule for shut down will vary according to the well, but all wells will be shut down within 10 days. The schedule is necessary because of warnings from seismologists that a large scale, sudden shutdown could cause an earthquake.”