Home > Regions > North America > Oil and Gas Alert: Despite earthquake, deep injection wells continue to play a major role in Utica and Marcellus activities

Oil and Gas Alert: Despite earthquake, deep injection wells continue to play a major role in Utica and Marcellus activities

Background

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) determined that an earthquake in Youngstown, Ohio, which measured 4.0 on the Richter Scale on December 31, 2011, was caused by a Class II deep injection well. The Youngstown New Year’s Eve earthquake had been preceded by a number of minor seismic events between March and December of 2011 in the same area. ODNR based its determination regarding the cause of the earthquake on a number of factors. Its most important conclusion is the fact that the well had been improperly positioned over an existing fault line.

 

Other factors include:

 

  • The New Year’s Eve earthquake originated in the same location as the Youngstown well with an epicenter on a fault line 9,842.5 feet below the surface, approximately the same depth as the well’s injection site.
  • The seismic activities at the site coincided with injections to the well.
  • Seismic activities did not begin in 2011 until after operation of the well had commenced.
  • Other than the 2011 seismic activities, Youngstown is not a seismically active area.