Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Oil Practices to Blame for Quakes? ; Quakes: Oil, Gas Industry Generates $4.3B Annually for State

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Oil Practices to Blame for Quakes? ; Quakes: Oil, Gas Industry Generates $4.3B Annually for State

Article excerpt

The leader of the Kansas Geological Survey said Monday the agency is moving in the direction of concluding recent earthquakes in the state are being caused by oil and gas production practices.

Rex Buchanan, the agency's interim director, told the House Energy and Environment Committee a correlation exists between tremors and the increasing use of saltwater injection by oil and gas producers in the state.

"I think it's reasonable to say that's the direction we're going. We've had a number of meetings with the U.S. Geological Survey and folks from the academic community around the country and that's sort of where the attention is going at this point," Buchanan said about whether he believed there is a "reasonable probability" of a relationship between the quakes and the use of injection.

Injection wells, which inject salt water produced by oil and gas extraction back into the earth, differ from so-called hydraulic fracking, which fractures rock in an effort to extract oil and gas. The injection of the salt water is seen as helping ensure water supplies aren't affected.

The comments from Buchanan come after a task force appointed by Gov. Sam Brownback found last fall no conclusive evidence linking earthquakes to injection wells. The study produced by the task force said the scientific community hasn't reached a consensus on the issue.

But the task force called for more research and submitted a plan for more monitoring of earthquakes with a magnitude 1.5 or greater on the Richter scale.

The question of whether earthquakes are the result of human activity has large implications for Kansas. The state's oil and gas industry generates about $4.3 billion annually and employs 118,000 people in Kansas.

Data provided to the committee shows earthquakes have been on the rise. According to the Kansas Geological Survey, 34 quakes with magnitude 2.5 or larger occurred in Kansas between 1977 and 2012. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.