Emergency Order Halts Natural Gas Drilling, State says Fracking is Causing Seismic Activity

Posted on Mar 07, 2011 in Global & National News

Source: Arkansas Online

Chesapeake Operating Inc. and Clarita Operating LLC both said before a hearing Friday in Little Rock by the state Oil and Gas Commission that they will comply with an emergency request to stop injections of used natural-gas drilling fluid in the two wells in Faulkner County.

The drillers made the announcement in a pre-meeting notice. Still, the commission voted 8-0 to approve an emergency order ceasing operations at that the two injection wells. Commission staff suspects that the wells may be linked to an outbreak of hundreds of small earthquakes in the Faulkner County area.

Commission Director Lawrence Bengal said both companies agreed ahead of the hearing to to cease operations until the next commission meeting, which is scheduled for March 29. He said evidence will be presented at that hearing from the staff of the commission, who believe there is a possible correlation, and the drilling companies, who argue no correlation exists.

Bengal said after the meeting that he requested the emergency order because data received from the drilling companies suggested there might be a link between injection operations and seismic activity.

“We may never be able to make a definitive determination, but the indications are it’s a possibility,” he said. “So we felt it prudent to ask these wells to shut down to prevent the potential for future earthquakes.”

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