Published in General Business, Just Plain Cool/Odd
According to a recent study in the Leading Edge authored by the Stanford University, Department of Geophysics, a new map highlights areas of West Texas and southeastern New Mexico that could be at greater risk for future earthquakes resulting from oil and gas operations.
Previous research has shown that wastewater injected as a step in hydraulic fracturing (fracking) underlies an increase in seismic activity in parts of the central and eastern US, particularly in Oklahoma, starting in 2005. While none of these small-to-moderate earthquakes has yet caused significant property damage or injury, they represent an increased probability of larger earthquakes.
Now, Texas is poised to take center stage as the Permian Basin is becoming the country’s most important oil- and gas-producing region. In the 1920s, energy companies began extracting the basin’s bountiful petroleum deposits during a boom that lasted decades. More recently, the advance of hydraulic fracturing techniques has spurred a new development frenzy. Hundreds of thousands of wells could be drilled in the region in the next few decades.