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Gas and oil drilling causes earthquakes, studies find

Scientists are becoming more and more certain that drilling for gas and oil causes hundreds of earthquakes in the US. So far, such induced earthquakes have been small, weak, and have caused little damage, but seismologists warn that drilling activity could cause large earthquakes in the future. Up to now, the energy exploration industry has argued that such claims require further research to substantiate them, but the latest research could lead to tighter regulation for energy exploration companies.

Jason Bordoff, founding director of the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, told “The New York Times” that the potential for man-made quakes “is an important and legitimate concern that must be taken very seriously by regulators and industry.” He said that companies and states could reduce the risk by taking steps such as monitoring operations more closely, imposing tighter standards, and recycling wastewater from drilling instead of injecting it underground. The re-injection of water produced by oil and gas drilling into disposal wells is thought to be one of the main causes of the seismic shocks associated with the drilling.

Several studies by government agencies and academic institutions in the US in the past few years, including two published last week (one by the US Geological Survey, the other by the Oklahoma Geological Survey), find that gas and oil drilling has caused small earthquakes. The question therefore arises whether the US government will impose stricter regulation on energy exploration companies, which have experienced renewed growth in recent years.

In related news, Israel energy market skeptical on antitrust proposal.

This article was from Globes, Tel Aviv, Israel and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.