Texas Railroad Commission Finds No Evidence Disposal Well Caused Quake
The Texas Railroad Commission announced recently that there is no conclusive evidence that Johnson County disposal wells were a causal factor in a May 7th seismic event. On May 8th, the Commission directed the operators of five disposal wells to conduct well and reservoir testing and provide data related to seismicity. Each of the operators voluntarily ceased operations at their respective wells to expedite the testing process. Fall-off pressure tests were authorized in October 2014 when the Commission adopted rule amendments allowing the Commission to collect additional information regarding seismicity in the disposal well permit application process. In a statement by the Commission, Seismologist Dr. Craig Pearson expressed his gratitude for the cooperation of the operators and emphasized that this is an on-going process.
The Commission has made well and reservoir testing data available on its website.
The Railroad Commission is currently conducting hearings this week and next with operators of disposal wells in Azle, Texas to show cause why their injection wells permits should be upheld in light of a recent Southern Methodist University study linking well operations and seismic activity in the area. After the testimony concludes, it may be several months before the commissioners issue a final ruling.
The Texas Railroad Commission has emphasized in recent statements that studying the possible link between disposal well operations and seismic activity is its highest immediate priority. Disposal well operators should expect requests for supplemental information in the permit application process.