NM’s Increased Risk of Earthquakes


Multiple magnitude (M) 4 or 5 quakes were felt in the Midland area, leading the Texas Railroad Commission to declare a seismic response area (SRA) earlier this fall in the Gardendale region, calling for reductions in water disposal injection volumes.

Earthquakes at M 4 are generally felt but are known to cause minor damage. When recorded at M 5 or above, they may cause increasingly severe damage to structures and risk public safety.

Quakes below M 2.5 are not typically felt on the surface. 

Injections rates for existing disposal wells – where water created as a byproduct of oil and gas drilling is disposed of by pumping it underground – were reduced to 10,000 barrels per day, while operators were required to report daily injection volumes and pressures to the Commission each month.

Wells permitted but not in service would not be allowed to begin injection, and the Railroad Commission said it would not issue any new permits in that area.

Then, in October the Railroad Commission announced it was creating a second seismic response area in northern Culberson and Reeves counties, just along the border with southeast New Mexico.

Read more here: https://www.ruidosonews.com/story/news/local/2021/11/15/new-mexico-earthquake-risk-rising-oil-gas-cause/6273184001/

Source: Adrian Hedden for Carldbad Current Argus

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