On Thursday, the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) issued an Order requiring a reduction in volumes of saltwater injected into the Arbuckle formation in certain areas of Harper and Sumner counties.
The Order sets limits for Arbuckle injection wells located within five areas of seismic concern identified by the Kansas Geological Survey (KGS) in Harper and Sumner counties. The KGS determined areas of seismic concern by applying the Kansas Induced Seismicity Task Force’s Seismic Action Score (SAS) to the areas’ earthquake activity recorded from January 2014 through February 2015. The recorded data is available from the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Earthquake Information Center. The SAS used here is part of the Seismic Action Plan developed at the direction of Governor Brownback through the coordinated efforts of the KGS, the KCC, and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
The Order requires operators of Arbuckle saltwater disposal wells in these five areas to limit their injection wells to 16,000 barrels of saltwater per day within 10 days of the Order; to 12,000 barrels per day within 55 days; to 8,000 barrels per day within 100 days, for a total reduction of up to 60% on certain injection wells over this timeframe. These operators also will be required to regularly report data showing their compliance with the Order. The KGS will continue to measure the seismic activity in these areas. The Order directs KCC staff to work in conjunction with the KGS to review the data, with recommendation to the Commission for further action, if necessary.
The Order further sets a maximum daily injection permit limit of 25,000 barrels of saltwater on all Arbuckle injection wells in Harper and Sumner counties that are not in these five areas.
There are currently more than 4,300 Arbuckle injection wells statewide and the formation has long been utilized for both production and disposal in different parts of Kansas. The wells impacted by today’s action represent only a small fraction of the total active Arbuckle injection wells. Arbuckle injection currently occurs in many areas throughout Kansas without any recorded seismic activity.
A complete copy of the Order can be found by visiting the home page of www.kcc.ks.gov, or also by clicking on Docket Filings, and entering Docket No. 15-CONS-770-CMSC.