Lawsuits Filed Over Suspected Injection Well-Induced Earthquakes
This blog post has been edited. It was originally posted on March 21, 2014. Facts of this case may have developed or changed since the original post date. Settlements/verdicts may have been reached or are in progress.
Fourteen families filed a lawsuit against oil-and-gas operators, alleging their drilling practices caused thousands of earthquakes in Arkansas.
Fourteen families in Arkansas filed lawsuits against Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Operating and BHP Billiton Petroleum of Australia, alleging that the company’s injection wells caused earthquakes that damaged their homes and businesses. The earthquakes led to a ban on injection wells in Arkansas in 2011. Thousands of Earthquakes According to court documents, thousands of quakes of around magnitude 1.0 occurred in the area from July 2010 through August 2011. One quake registered 4.7 and another 4.0, with more than 30 additional quakes registering at 3.0 or greater. Although no injuries were reported, many homes suffered cracked walls, and a mechanic shop wall collapsed after one of the tremors, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. The earthquakes occurred in mini-clusters and swarms in central Arkansas. Ban on Wells The wells thought to have caused the earthquakes were natural gas disposal wells, which get rid of drilling fluid and wastewater using a method that pushes liquids back into the earth using high pressure. In July 2011, Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission banned the use of those types of wells in areas located primarily north of Conway due to the earthquakes. The ban covers 1,150 square miles. Seismologists Report High Number of Earthquakes Seismologists with the Oklahoma Geological Survey said that the state recorded 222 earthquakes at 2.5 magnitude or greater in 2013, compared to only 64 in 2012. In 2014, there were 63 earthquakes in Oklahoma at 2.5 magnitude or greater, according to The Oklahoman. Several of them struck Logan County in early February of that year. When the negligence of a company is suspected as the cause or contributing factor in an incident that causes damage, injury or death, a liability claim may be in order. Contact Dallas-Fort Worth lawyers at Frenkel & Frenkel to schedule a free initial consultation regarding an incident where damages or injuries may have been caused or worsened by a company’s negligence.