The city of Azle, which lies in the area of the Barnett shale natural gas field, has reported nearly two dozen tremors since November. A regional profile from the U.S. Geological Survey says so-called induced earthquakes, those caused by injecting fluid underground for the purpose of extracting oil or natural, may be at play in parts of Texas.
Ramona Nye, a spokeswoman for the Texas Railroad Commission, told energy news website Rigzone the agency was serving as the facilitator in talks between those in the industry and researchers from Southern Methodist University.
"[They] are the ones directly investigating whether there is a link between North Texas Azle area oil and gas disposal wells and seismic events in that area," she said Wednesday.
The commission itself is considering amendments to current regulations that would require oil and gas operators to review USGS data on historical earthquakes before proceeding with operations, among other requirements.
The city of Denton, also in the Barnett play, could become the first in Texas to ban hydraulic fracturing outright after officials said the issue should be decided on the November ballot.