KCC says Wichita earthquakes not connected to oil and gas activity

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) says recent earthquakes in the Wichita area are not connected to the oil and gas industry.

The KCC regulates oil and gas production and exploration in Kansas. It investigated after more than a dozen recent earthquakes in south-central Kansas.

“Based on our investigation, KCC staff does not believe the seismicity in Wichita, Kansas is tied to any oil and gas activities in the area,” Ryan A. Hoffman, director of the KCC Conservation Division, said in a news release

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) says eight of those quakes measured 2.5 or higher. Just this morning, there was a 2.1 earthquake with an epicenter near Central and Greenwich in Wichita.

The KCC says its investigation examined many factors including:

  • A review of historical disposal well records for Arbuckle or Granite Wash injection wells within a six-mile radius of the earthquakes. Five wells were located in the radius.  No recent volume increases were found.
  • Any new drilling activity within three miles of the epicenters. No new wells were recently completed within the area.
  • Spot checks of the wells within the radius area to verify compliance with permit conditions.

The KCC says its investigation procedure is outlined in the Seismic Action Plan developed with the Kansas Geological Survey and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

It investigates whenever there is an earthquake 3.5 or stronger in the state or “when an earthquake scores a 17 or higher Seismic Action Score which takes into account variables such as risk, clustering and timing.”

The KCC says it will continue to monitor any earthquakes in the state.

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