Ohio Department of Natural Resources investigates earthquakes near gas drilling site

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is investigating four small earthquakes that occurred on March 10, 2014 in Poland Township. These four earthquakes measured 3.0, 2.4, 2.2 and 2.6 in magnitude, causing no injuries or damages. The National Earthquake Information Center of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) placed the epicenter of the 3.0 earthquake near where Hilcorp Energy Company is drilling in the Carbon Limestone Landfill.

The ODNR, in “an abundance of caution” to protect public health and safety, ordered Hilcorp Energy to suspend its drilling operations pending further assessment of “the exact circumstances surrounding this event…All available information indicates the events are not connected to Class II injection activities.”  According to the ODNR, there are no disposal wells in the area where the earthquakes occurred.

Hilcorp Energy, which is the only oil and gas company in the area and has been drilling in the Landfill for two years with no prior problems, complied with the ODNR’s request, stating that “[i]t is far too early in the process to know exactly what happened and we’re not aware of any evidence to connect our operations to these events.”

This post was written by Barclay Nicholson (barclay.nicholson@nortonrosefulbright.com or 713.651.3662) from Norton Rose Fulbright's Energy Practice Group.