KCC completes investigation of Wichita area earthquakes
TOPEKA –The Kansas Corporation Commission has completed an investigation into whether the recent string of earthquakes occurring in the Wichita area are related to oil and gas industry activity. The KCC regulates oil and gas production and exploration in the state.
“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,” said Ryan A. Hoffman, Director of the KCC Conservation Division.
The KCC’s 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.
This investigation procedure is outlined in the Seismic Action Plan developed in 2014 in collaboration with the Kansas Geological Survey and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. An investigation is triggered whenever an earthquake of M 3.5 or higher occurs 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 will continue to monitor the situation and consult with the Kansas Geological Survey and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment as necessary.