Induced seismicity due to oil and gas waste fluid disposal wells has been documented by the TexNet Program, and has been attributed to Type II disposal wells.

The Texas Railroad Commission adopted rule amendments to address permitting of disposal wells in areas of induced seismicity, and also recently issued guidelines for their staff to evaluate disposal well permit applications in areas of seismic activity.

Although Permian Basin oil and gas waste fluid volumes are now substantially increasing, proportional to rapid increases in oil and gas production, induced seismicity has become an important constraint that will prevent proportionally increasing the capacity of this historically primary disposal method.

New approaches are now being implemented that will reduce dependence on disposal wells. Fundamental to this industry shift is turning a waste into a commodity: what was waste fluid is now increasingly being captured for recycling purposes.

The water midstream industry is so new that many people are not familiar with the term. The water midstream industry is rapidly permitting and building out the infrastructure for a Permian Basin-wide, interconnected recycling system. As this new system matures, disposal well use will decline, which will likely lead to a reduction in induced seismicity.

Primary Author / Conference Presenter:
James Lawrence
SCS Engineers
Bedford, Texas, USA