Could these be fracking earthquakes?
SMU scientists have released a preliminary report that indicates the recent Irving earthquakes originated near two gas wells. There is an ancient fault in that area that was dormant. Unfortunately for Irving and Dallas, it’s not dormant anymore.
Irving only has the two gas wells. They were drilled and fracked from the same pad site near University of Dallas campus. According to records obtained by Texas Public Information Act, there was a casing rupture on one of those wells during fracking. The operator, Trinity East/Expro Energy was unable to fix the rupture. That well was shut in but not capped. If you ask about what happened, you might get a cease and desist letter. The other well has produced very little and has produced nothing since October 2012.
This map shows the location of the wells. The SMU maps show where the earthquakes originated and how they spread to the north.
The Dallas Morning News wrote about the fracking casing rupture nightmare but they missed a few things. Thankfully the Westchester Gasette filled in the holes with many details and Texas Railroad Commission (RRC) records.
This letter from Expro Energy to the RRC says the operator spent “considerable time and money trying to correct this problem.” Then they threaten to return in the future to try again to complete the well. YIKES! We have no idea what all they did or what they might have pumped down that hole trying to fix the problem. That’s top secret information. If you ask about that, you might get a cease and desist letter.
They try to avoid the faults and fracking earthquakes.
According to a presentation given by Tom Blanton of Trinity East/Expro Engineering at the March 20, 2013, Irving City Council meeting, the industry knows where the faults are and they try to avoid them. They won’t share their seismic data with us though because it’s proprietary.
The council meeting is quite entertaining and well worth the hour to watch. You can watch it here with some additional commentary. I have transcribed the part below that begins at 50:43.
Everybody knows there is a very major fault, near 800’ that runs from North Lake down through the south portion of the airport and into Grand Prairie. [The fault in Grand Prairie is 8,000’] We looked at that area to drill in. We avoided it. The one thing that I believe, and you won’t hear this from most industry people, but I believe saltwater injection wells speed up the process of the shifting of those faults. I don’t believe they create it, but I do believe they speed it up. There’s a lot of tension in a fault that size. We did have a saltwater disposal well over on the south end of the airport, I believe that the 2.8, 3.0 Richter scale earthquakes in this area, my opinion is they were exacerbated, sped up by the saltwater disposal and not any of the drilling. Otherwise we would be having earthquakes everywhere. But where you do find earthquakes, Johnson County and up here in Irving, it’s predominately around a saltwater injection well that’s near a huge fault, not these 2-300 footers, but one like we have here in North Irving area that’s monstrous. We in the industry are aware of where those faults are and we try to avoid them.
That’s big of them, the industry. They know where the “monstrous” faults are but we can’t know because it’s top secret information. And we should trust them not to frack the faults and cause any fracking earthquakes because they are nice like that.
But wait! Watch the WFAA news report and you will see that the once dormant fault that is no longer dormant is right were Trinity East/Expro Energy drilled and fracked two wells.
Update: More information on the casing rupture can be found HERE.
My presentation on fracking earthquakes.
Tuesday, I gave a presentation to the Irving League of Women voters about man-made earthquakes.