Archive for Thursday, October 5, 2017

Permit for oil production in Flint Hills draws protests, fears of future earthquakes

About two dozen people, most from central Kansas, gathered outside the Kansas Corporation Commission office in Topeka to protest a permit granted in September for an oil drilling company to operate injection wells in the Flint Hills.

About two dozen people, most from central Kansas, gathered outside the Kansas Corporation Commission office in Topeka to protest a permit granted in September for an oil drilling company to operate injection wells in the Flint Hills.

October 5, 2017


— About two dozen demonstrators gathered outside the Kansas Corporation Commission headquarters Thursday to protest a permit the agency granted last month for an oil drilling company to operate saltwater injection wells in Morris County in the Flint Hills.

The KCC granted that permit Sept. 21 to Quail Oil & Gas LC, based in Garden City, despite objections from landowners in the area who say the wells are likely to induce earthquakes and open fissures in the ground that could cause the wastewater to contaminate their underground wells.

"What the oil and gas company spokespeople always want to tell you is that most wells have not been linked to an earthquake," said Cindy Hoedel of Flint Hills Stewards, an informal group that gathered on Facebook to raise awareness about the project. "Actually, none have. It's impossible to link one well to one earthquake, but the U.S. Geological Survey has said no question about it, all of the earthquakes in Kansas are caused by fracking wastewater injection."

Hoedel, who lives in nearby Chase County, was one of several residents of the area who filed objections to the proposed permit when the KCC was considering Quail Oil's application. In it, she said the area where the injection wells would be located, known as the Nemaha Uplift, "is riddled with faults, some of which project to the surface and some of which are historically active."

"High-volume injection of fluid has the potential to lubricate and destabilize these faults with possible earthquakes," she wrote.

But Wray Valentine, who manages the oil company, said in written testimony to the commission that placing injection wells there would reduce truck volume, noise and dust that would be generated if the company had to haul the wastewater by truck to disposal wells elsewhere in the state.

In addition, Lee Shobe, an independent geologist who testified on behalf of the company, said there is no evidence to suggest the well would induce seismic activity because "there is no recent record of seismic activity in the area even though injection is occurring in such area."

Morris County, located just northwest of Emporia, about 100 miles southwest of Lawrence, is far removed from the area in south-central Kansas where hundreds of earthquakes have been recorded in recent years.

Hoedel said her group decided not to appeal the KCC permit after an attorney told them they had little chance of success.

But Jessica Skyfield of Prairie Village, who is part of another Facebook group, @Kansas Water, filed a motion with the KCC Thursday asking for a rehearing, alleging there were procedural errors in the permitting process.


8 months, 2 weeks ago

This is not fracking good. Wichita has had SEVERAL earthquakes caused by these disposal wells. This would be only 100 miles southwest of Lawrence.

Richard Heckler 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Lawrence experienced an earth quake related to fracking operations in Oklahoma.

Use of injection wells

-----Injection wells have a range of uses including: - Storing CO2 - Disposing of waste - Enhancing oil production - Mining - Preventing salt water intrusion

Widespread use of injection wells began in the 1930s to dispose of brine generated during oil production.

Injection effectively disposed of unwanted brine and preserved surface waters. In some formations injection enhanced the recovery of oil.

In the 1950s, chemical companies began injecting industrial wastes into deep wells. As chemical manufacturing increased, so did the use of deep injection. Injection proved to be a safe and inexpensive option for the disposal of unwanted and often hazardous industrial byproducts.

Richard Heckler 8 months, 2 weeks ago

How does anyone know Fracking will not occur once the oil people are established?

Trucks and roads will induce serious erosion.

P Allen Macfarlane 8 months, 2 weeks ago

If you look at the current surface geologic map of Morris County, faults have been mapped. There is no evidence that movement has occurred along them in recent times. It is also worth noting that Morris County sits astride the Nemaha ridge and fault.

Richard Heckler 8 months, 2 weeks ago

There is no hard evidence suggesting that injection wells will NOT cause new movement or earthquakes.

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