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State Geological Survey Director Has Hopes of State-owned Earthquake Monitoring Equipment

 

The Director of the Oklahoma Geological Survey, Dr. Jeremy Boak isn’t optimistic about getting state legislative funding to finish a project of acquiring seismometers to monitor state earthquakes linked to oil and gas operations.

It’s what he told OK Energy Today in an interview after speaking Thursday at a state convention of the Oklahoma Chapter of the National Association of Royalty Owners. The convention is underway in Norman.

Dr. Boak would like to purchase at least 20 seismometers replacing some that have been borrowed during the growth in earthquakes over the past few years.

“Probably put them in the area of the SCOOP and the STACK,” said Boak, ‘to fill in the current network. Fill in by expanding into that SCOOP and STACK area.”

A second phase of the project would fill in northern and north central Oklahoma while the third and final phase would fill in eastern Oklahoma.

But he was quick to answer “no” when asked if he felt the legislature would approve any of the funding this session.

“We don’t like to put pressure there,” said Boak who added that some funding from the Governor’s office is to upgrade software and put a staff in place.

Until then, any collaborative effort with the Department of Energy would be expected to show leveraging with private enterprises or other agencies.

“We’re looking for anybody we can,” he added. “And not necessarily looking for large contributions, say from counties.”

He admitted the energy industry could do more.

“But it’s tricky because many of them have put money into their own monitoring networks out there. So how do we convince them at the same time to be investing in our longer term, broader network.”

During his comments to the NARO convention, Dr. Boak made it clear very few of the earthquakes in Oklahoma have been caused directly due to hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas wells. What the Oklahoma Geological Survey and the Oklahoma Corporation Commission believe is that they have been caused by the injection of wastewater from the wells.

The deep injection into the Arbuckle has been blamed.

“But the quakes have not been caused by hydraulic fracturing” he stated to the crowd.