Earthquakes linked to gas drilling
Ohio regulators halt fracking site, drawing link to quakesAssociated Press | April 11, 2014
State geologists in Ohio have for the first time linked earthquakes in a geologic formation deep under the Appalachians to gas drilling, leading the state to issue new permit conditions in certain areas that are among the nation's strictest.
A state investigation of five small tremors in the Youngstown area, in the Appalachian foothills, last month has found the high-pressure injection of sand and water that accompanies hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the Utica Shale may have increased pressure on a small, unknown fault, said State Oil & Gas Chief Rick Simmers. He called the link "probable."
While earlier studies had linked earthquakes in the same region to deep-injection wells used for disposal of fracking wastewater, this marks the first time tremors have been tied directly to fracking, Simmers said.
Ohio has also imposed an indefinite drilling moratorium at the site of the March quakes. The state is allowing oil and gas extraction to continue at five existing wells at the site.
The Utica Shale lies beneath the better-known Marcellus Shale, where energy companies have drilled thousands of unconventional gas wells in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia in recent years. The Marcellus is considered to be one of the richest natural gas reserves in the world. Drillers have only recently begun to tap into the deeper Utica.
Labels: Natural Disasters