Four tremors recorded in Oklahoma since Sunday

USGS last year tied oil and gas activity to the increase in seismic events.
By Daniel J. Graeber  |  March 14, 2016 at 7:34 AM
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OKLAHOMA CITY, March 14 (UPI) -- Five seismic events were reported by the U.S. Geological Survey in Oklahoma in the last 24 hours as the state works to stem incidents tied to oil and gas work.

Thee minor tremors were reported early Monday morning local time by the USGS, including a magnitude-3.4 quake near Fairview in the northern part of the state. Two others were recorded Sunday.

An increase in seismic activity in Oklahoma was linked by the USGS in a 2015 report to the disposal of wastewater from the oil and gas industry.

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission and the Oklahoma Geological Survey have called on energy companies to reduce the amount of wastewater disposed in underground wells in an effort to curb seismic activity. A plan for western Oklahoma went into force in February and expansions to a risk area in the central part of the state were outlined last week.

The first phase of the plan for central Oklahoma was scheduled last week.

Gov. Mary Fallin in January approved $1.38 million in one-time costs to support earthquake research in the state. Oklahoma is among the top oil producers in the country, accounting for about 3 percent of total U.S. output per year, though lower crude oil prices are hurting the state's budget.

In 2014, when oil prices were near $110 per barrel, Oklahoma had one of the fastest-growing economies in the United States. Fallin, in her annual State of the State address in early February, said the steep drop in crude oil prices, off about 70 percent from mid-2014, had a "tremendous impact" on state revenues.

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