Railroad Commission responds to earthquake in Reeves County

Published: Dec. 13, 2022 at 11:00 AM CST
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AUSTIN, Texas (KOSA) - Following a 5.4 magnitude earthquake on Nov. 16, in Reeves County, the Railroad Commission of Texas is implementing several changes to the seismicity reduction response plan in the Northern Culberson-Reeves Seismic Response Area (SRA).

The SRA boundary is being expanded northward to the New Mexico border, which will increase the size of the SRA from 2,366 square miles to 2,601 square miles. There are 78 active disposal wells in the revised SRA.

The response plan sets limits on the injection volumes of water produced during oil and gas production into disposal wells. The scope of the plan is being revised following reviews of seismicity data and injection volumes.

The SRA was created to address the intensity and frequency of earthquakes in the area and reduce the occurrence of high-magnitude seismicity such that recurrence of 3.5 magnitude events is decreasing by Dec. 31, 2023.

The target for reducing daily injection volumes in deep disposal wells is being reduced even further. Operators of deep disposal wells in the Revised Response Plan have agreed to reduce the collective volume of disposal from the original target of 298,000 barrels per day by June 30, 2023 to 162,000 barrels per day by that date. This would be about a 68% drop in disposal volume compared to January 2022 before the plan went into effect.

The Revised Response Plan and other documents can be found by scrolling to the Northern-Culberson Reeves section of the RRC Seismicity Response webpage.