Earthquake Study Points to Possible Carbon Injection Risks
The oil industry triggered a series of small earthquakes in Texas by injecting carbon dioxide underground to boost well production, a new study says.
The earthquakes evaluated in the study were magnitude 3 and slightly larger and occurred between 2006 and 2011 in the Cogdell oil field near Snyder, Texas. It was not the first time the area had experienced seismic activity. From 1975 to 1982, a number of earthquakes had struck the oil field. Scientists linked that seismic activity to the oil industry practice of injecting water into oil wells to increase production. When the water injections stopped, the earthquakes ceased.
Beginning in 2004, however, the oil industry injected carbon dioxide and other gases into wells in the Cogdell field, also in a bid to enhance production. Earthquakes returned soon after, according to the study.
Cliff Frohlich, study co-author and associate director of the