Does fracking cause earthquakes? MDN has covered various stories in the past on this topic. It seems likely that injection wells (not hydraulic fracturing, but the wastewater from fracking being injected deeply in disposal wells) in some locations have been tied to earthquakes in some areas. Notably, when injection wells in Arkansas stopped pumping pressurized liquids into the wells, earthquakes in the area all but stopped (see this MDN story). It certainly seems there is a cause and effect situation.
But what about fracking a single well? Is there a danger that fracking can cause earthquakes? Arthur McGarr, a geologist at the US Geological Survey in Menlo Park, California has worked out a formula for predicting how large an earthquake can result from pumping/injecting fluids underground, including fracking fluids. He recently presented his formula at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco, CA. McGarr subsequently spoke to the journal Nature about his formula:
Kent Moors, writing on the Seeking Alpha website, comments on his observation from Baker Hughes well rig data for the U.S. that the number of rigs used to drill for natural gas has gone down over the same period last year, but that the number of rigs drilling for oil has skyrocketed.
MarkWest Energy announced yesterday it will pay $1 billion in cash and 19.95 million new Class B MarkWest units (worth an estimated $750 million to $850 million) to buy out joint venture partner Energy and Minerals Group’s (EMG) 49 percent interest in MarkWest Liberty Midstream. The Liberty Midstream joint venture was formed in May 2009 to focus on construction and operation of midstream services in support of Marcellus shale gas production, including pipelines to gather natural gas, facilities to process it, and transportation to get it to market.
Although MarkWest is buying out EMG’s interest in the Liberty joint venture, the two companies will create a new Utica Shale midstream joint venture in eastern Ohio in 2012 as part of the deal.
Magnum Hunter Resources and Stone Energy yesterday announced a joint venture combining their leased Marcellus acreage in Wetzel County, WV, some 1,925 acres, with the stated objective of drilling 19 new horizontal Marcellus Shale wells in the next two years.