Shane Thielges | Shale Plays Media
A study conducted by the Wyoming State Geological Survey has found no evidence to link shale drilling activities to an increase in instances of earthquakes.
The report, released on Monday, compared records of earthquakes to injection wells in the state from 1984 to 2013, the Casper Star Tribune reports. It focused on five areas in which recorded earthquakes were centered within three miles of an injection well. Researchers found that in four of those cases, the injection wells were inactive or otherwise could not have caused seismic disturbances. Instead, they concluded, the earthquakes were naturally occurring.
The fifth area of study, the Lost Soldier and Wertz oil fields near Bairoil, did have over a dozen earthquakes in the past 30 years, some of which coincided with active injection well operation. Tom Drean, a Wyoming State Geologist and one of the contributors to the report, said additional studies could be conducted in the coming years to determine any possible connection:
“If we were to see an associated increase in earthquake activity, that would be an indicator of some component of induced seismicity,” he said.
Wyoming is naturally prone to earthquakes, making conclusive correlation difficult without sustained observation.
Read the Casper Star Tribune article here: Study finds no link between quakes and drilling, calls for more research near Bairoil