By April 27, 2015 Read More →

Azle disposal wells subject of show cause hearing investigating earthquakes

XTO Energy, Enervest Operating will defend their Azle area operating permits

A recent study linking strong earthquakes near Azle to waste water disposal wells has caused the Texas Railroad Commission to summon two producers to a show cause hearing in June.


Christi Craddick, chairman of the Railroad Commission of Texas.

On Friday the Commission directed its Hearings Division to initiate proceedings requiring the operators of two disposal wells in the area of Azle to show cause why the injection permits for the wells should not be cancelled and the wells ordered shut-in due to an alleged connection raised by new seismic research between ongoing operation of the wells and seismic activity in the vicinity, according to a RRC press release.

“The Railroad Commission has in place strong rules addressing the issue of seismicity and disposal well activity, and it is incumbent upon us to apply these rules where and when appropriate for the protection of public safety and our natural environment,” Chairman Christi Craddick said.

From early Nov. 2013 through Jan. 2014, the United States Geological Survey’s National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC) reported 27 earthquakes near the cities of Azle and Reno, Texas, including two widely felt 3.6 magnitude events, the study reports. Seismic researchers at Southern Methodist University, including a number of scientists from the Huffington Department of Earth Sciences at the Dallas-based university recently published “Causal factors for seismicity near Azle, Texas” in the science journal Nature Communications.


David Porter, Commissioner, Texas Railroad Commission.

“In light of SMU’s study linking disposal well activity to earthquakes in 2013, it is important to assess this new information in relation to the continued operational safety of the wells.”

The two wells at issue are XTO Energy Inc.’s West Lake SWD No. 1, Newark, East (Barnett Shale) Field, Parker County and Enervest Operating L.L.C.’s Briar No. 1, Caughlin (Strawn) Field, Wise County.

“Due to the that fact the wells were permitted prior to the Commission’s rule amendments addressing disposal well activity and seismic activity, and in light of the new research contained in SMU’s report, it’s appropriate and necessary for the Commission to consider the operation of these wells in a fully informed manner and determine the appropriate course of action,” Commissioner David Porter said.

While the SMU report remains under review by Commission staff, the show cause hearing is set for June 10 and 11, 2015 for XTO Energy and June 15 and 16, 2015 for Enervest Operating, L.L.C.

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