The U.S. Geological Survey is preparing to map the proximity of man-made earthquakes to wastewater injection wells from oil and gas drilling, and a top researcher says access to seismic and hydraulic fracturing data and the unpredictability of induced quakes will prove the agency’s biggest challenges.
USGS Research Geophysicist Justin Rubinstein, who contributed to a recent report forecasting the risks of earthshaking near regions with heightened seismicity, told EnergyGuardian that the nature of man-made quakes makes them far more difficult to project.
A hearing before the House Science committee showed the sharp divide over the seismic hazards of hydraulic fracturing and wastewater disposal as the U.S Geological Survey released its first pass at modeling the risks of earthquakes induced by human activity.
"Potentially induced seismicity greatly increases the seismic hazard in Oklahoma and in the other induced seismicity zones," the USGS report said.
But Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., told the Science committee hearing that he thinks fracking-related earthquakes are being overblown.
New driller Independence Resources Management LLC -- which intends to focus on unconventional shale plays in places like the Anadarko Basin – is getting $500 million in backing from private equity firm Warburg Pincus, the Houston Business Journal reports.
Although sand and water are the primary substances used in fracking, an Environmental Protection Agency analysis of data from FracFocus.org found that nearly 700 chemical additives appear as well, according to The Hill.
Calling it “frustrating,” “terrible” and “distressing,” Democrats and Republicans on Thursday ripped into the Interior Department's new rule on hydraulic fracturing as they heard testimony from the director of the Bureau of Land Management.
At a hearing of a House Natural Resources subcommittee, there was bipartisan dissatisfaction as lawmakers told BLM Director Neil Kornze that the rule was misguided – with Republicans calling the rule a unnecessary burden to industry and Democrats decrying it as too weak on environmental protection.
The Justice Department told a federal judge that it could take up to two months to formally publish the Environmental Protection Agency's final Clean Power Plan in the Federal Register, a development that would further delay legal action against the rules, The Hill reports.
Some Alaska native leaders remain undeterred by warnings of more extreme weather from a changing climate, with most in the North Slope region embracing expanded oil and gas development both onshore and in Arctic waters, E&E reports.
The administration of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, intends to develop a compliance plan for the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan and will not join current legal challenges to the rule, the Lansing State Journal reports.
Four environmental groups plan to launch a multi-million-dollar ad campaign against four Republican senators up for reelection in 2016 who opposed carbon regulations: Rob Portman of Ohio, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, The Hill reports.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said his country doesn't plan "significant cuts" to its oil production to help stabilize global prices, but output could decrease if prices continue to dwindle, Reuters reports.
Oil prices slid 8 percent Monday morning, reversing gains from a day earlier, as concerns mounted that China's manufacturing sector is contracting at the fastest rate in three years, Reuters reports. U.S. crude was down $3.91 to $45.92 per barrel and Brent crude fell $4.32 to $49.83 a barrel.