Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Staff Shakeup: Report Recommendation Comes in Face of OGS Seismologist Shortage

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Staff Shakeup: Report Recommendation Comes in Face of OGS Seismologist Shortage

Article excerpt

OKLAHOMA CITY - A 15-state working group has advice for states where the ground is vibrating near oil and gas disposal wells: Regulators should work closely with scientists to mitigate earthquake risk from human-caused earthquakes. Yet that may be a challenge in the Sooner State, where the Oklahoma Geological Survey will soon lose its last remaining seismologist.

The Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission and the Ground Water Protection Council released the StatesFirst initiative Monday at the organizations' annual meeting. The working paper, "Potential Injection-Induced Seismicity Associated with Oil and Gas Development," is intended to serve as a technical document for regulators.

The best way to mitigate risk from man-made earthquakes is to determine where temblors occur and if there are other faults nearby that could trigger more earthquakes. Regulators can coordinate with seismologists to determine recommendations for nearby disposal wells, such as reducing injection rates, lowering injection volumes or decreasing the well pressure, said Ernest L. Majer, a seismologist in the Earth and Environmental Sciences Division at the California-based Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.

Majer was a technical adviser and provided peer review for the document.

It's important that regulators work closely with scientists on determining the best course for a particular injection well after earthquakes because there are so many variables for each well and for the underlying geology, he said.

Oklahoma Secretary of Energy and Environment Mike Teague said his office is working to get more money to the OGS so it can hire and keep seismologists on staff. Jeremy Boak, new director of the OGS, was told he would need to hire more staff at the agency, which is housed at the University of Oklahoma, Teague said. Now he must do that more quickly, Teague said. …

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