Hilcorp Awarded Permits to Drill 7 New Wells Near Earthquake Zone

Oh oh. It appears one hand does not know what the other is doing. Last week a new series of small earthquakes–barely able to be felt, but there all the same–rumbled through the Mahoning Valley–near Youngstown, OH. Because of injection well related earthquakes near Youngstown two years ago, residents are understandably jittery and wonder if the drilling industry is somehow at fault with this new outbreak. So the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR), out of what they call “an abundance of caution,” asked Hilcorp to stop all drilling and fracking activity in the area (see # of Youngstown Earthquakes go from 2 to 11 – Fracking to Blame?).

Hilcorp readily complied. We’ve discussed (endlessly) that fracking simply does not cause earthquakes–injection wells can and have caused earthquakes, when injecting fluid over an active fault. However, it’s best to play it safe in this situation. Two days after the earthquakes and Hilcorp’s cessation of drilling in Mahoning County, the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) awarded Hilcorp permits to drill seven new horizontal shale wells in Lawrence County, PA–about six miles from where they stopped drilling over the border in Ohio. Oops…

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