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Oklahoma approves $1.4m funding for earthquake research related to fracking

EBR Staff Writer Published 29 January 2016

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin has approved $1.4m emergency funds to undertake research and understand increasing frequency of earthquakes in the region.

The earthquakes are believed to be linked to wastewater disposal from the oil and gas wells.

The funds will used by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) and the Oklahoma Geological Survey (OGS).

Fallin said: "I'm committed to funding seismic research, bringing on line advanced technology and more staff to fully support our regulators at they take meaningful action on earthquakes."

In particular, OGS will use its share of $1m to install additional permanent seismic monitoring stations, update seismic monitoring network and software as well as analyze the response of seismicity to regulatory and market forces driving changes in produced water injection.

It will also use to funding to characterize the properties of the Arbuckle formation and basement rock in a complex fluid reservoir and conduct workshops to share research results and define needs for additional studies.

OGS director Jeremy Boak said: "The funds will enable us to provide better recommendations for remedial action to further reduce the rate and magnitude of induced earthquakes."

Additionally, OCC will use a share of $387,000 for information technology upgrades, two contract geologists, contract clerical worker and geophysicist consultant as well as senior-level oil and gas attorney.

OCC vice-chair Dana Murphy said that the funding will address the need for essential resources.

Murphy added: "Efficient and timely handling of the huge amount of data involved is critical if we are to respond effectively to the earthquakes.

"The governor's prompt action on our request addresses those concerns."