Governor Mary Fallin announced she has approved the use of nearly $1.4 million from the state emergency fund to bolster the efforts of regulators and earthquake researchers in Oklahoma.
The funds will be directed to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) and the Oklahoma Geological Survey (OGS).
Fallin recently asked the OCC and the Coordinating Council on Seismic Activity to determine what state agencies needed to better understand the earthquakes impacting parts of the state. She was presented with a list of needs totaling $1.387 million in one-time costs. “I immediately made arrangements for the Corporation Commission and OGS to receive the money necessary to meet those needs,” Fallin said. “I’m committed to funding seismic research, bringing on line advanced technology and more staff to fully support our regulators at they take meaningful action on earthquakes.”
The emergency funds allocated by the governor will allow the OCC to proceed with much-needed computer updates and hire two contract geologists and other staff to work on seismic issues.
OCC Vice Chair Dana Murphy said the transfer addresses the need for essential resources.
“Efficient and timely handling of the huge amount of data involved is critical if we are to respond effectively to the earthquakes,” Murphy said. “The governor’s prompt action on our request addresses those concerns.”
OGS will use its share of the emergency funds to install additional seismic monitoring stations in western Oklahoma, update its monitoring network and upgrade its mapping systems.
The research agency also will conduct studies to shed light on how wastewater interacts with the Arbuckle formation, where most disposal wells operate, and the basement layer of rock below it.
OGS Director Jeremy Boak said the additional funding will meet a variety of the agency’s needs related to the increase of earthquakes in Oklahoma. “The funds will enable us to provide better recommendations for remedial action to further reduce the rate and magnitude of induced earthquakes,” said Boak.
Fallin has transferred $1.387 million from the state’s emergency fund to aid regulators and researchers working to understand Oklahoma’s increase in earthquakes. The Oklahoma Corporation Commission will receive $387,000 for:
- Information technology upgrades
- Two contract geologists, contract clerical worker and geophysicist consultant
- Senior-level oil and gas attorney
The Oklahoma Geological Survey will receive $1 million for:
- Installation of additional permanent seismic monitoring stations
- Update seismic monitoring network and software
- Analyze the response of seismicity to regulatory and market forces driving changes in produced water injection
- Characterize the properties of the Arbuckle formation and basement rock in a complex fluid reservoir
- Workshops to share research results and define needs for additional studies