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OCC calls for HF notice, seismicity plan

June 19, 2017
In December, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission put out guidance calling for operators to have plans in place to mitigate any induced seismicity prior to beginning a hydraulic fracturing operation.

There have been cases of induced seismicity from hydraulic fracturing witnessed in British Columbia, in Ohio and other areas. In an effort to be prepared for an event of that type, the commission came up with these guidelines which can be found at www.occeweb.com/og/ogforms.html under the label Frac Form Guide.

The guidance follows OCC’s call two years ago, in Oklahoma Administrative Code 165:10-3-10(b)(2), for operators to notify the commission 48 hours before beginning to hydraulically fracture. Producers are also required to contact operators within a half-mile who are working from the same common source of supply five business days before a hydraulic fracturing operation.

The OCC may be notified by telephone, fax or email. Nearby operators may be notified by fax, email or regular mail.

“First step is to make sure you’re notifying everyone you’re supposed to — operators in the area and the OCC field office — to make sure they have a picture of what’s going on,” said A.J. Ferate, OIPA vice president of regulatory affairs. “Based on what we’re hearing, it seems that not a lot of operators are actually aware they have to make these notifications.”

To provide notice of a hydraulic fracturing operation:

• Download the Hydraulic Fracturing Notice Form, 
“FNFEE.xls,” at www.occeweb.com under Divisions\Oil & Gas\Forms or at http://www.occeweb.com/og/ogforms.html
• Complete the form
• Click the email address on the form for the appropriate Oil and Gas Conservation Division District Office; it will send to OGCD district office and to UIC department in Oklahoma City
• Label the email with the well name
• Email the completed form as an Excel file to the appropriate Oil and Gas Conservation Division District Office.

The Oklahoma Geological Survey is responsible for monitoring seismicity in the state and reporting anomalous events to the OCC. Operators can access the OGS raw feed in real time at http://wichita.ogs.ou.edu/eq/raw/. Clicking on the file designated as Past24Hours.html will launch a map that shows seismic events for the prior 24 hours. A search box in the upper right hand corner of the map allows an operator to put in the GPS coordinates (Lat Lon) for their well in decimal format.

For example, to zoom in on the Oklahoma State Capital, enter 35.4919,-97.5033. (Note the negative sign in front of the second (Longitude) number. Leaving out that negative sign will cause the app to zoom to the plains of Tibet.)

The magnitude and location of these events are preliminary but are the best real-time monitoring source available publicly. It will work on desktop or mobile devices.

Operators also are advised to work with the OCC to have mitigation plans in place in the event seismicity occurs. Contact the Oil and Gas Conservation Division’s Charles Lord (405-522-2751 or c.lord@occemail.com) or Jim Marlatt (405-522-2758 or j.marlatt@occemail.com) to review mitigation procedures. By discussing these plans in advance operators will be able to take timely action immediately.

In the event of anomalous seismic activity the operator’s mitigation procedures will be put in place with various levels of OGCD involvement beginning with activity of 2.5 magnitude. Please refer to the guidelines referenced above for details.

“If you have a pre-approved plan already in place that the commission has reviewed, that’s enough to satisfy the guidance,” Ferate said. “They need to have a concept of what you’re doing and how you intend to do it. These events have generally been small and susceptible to mitigation through various actions. By applying these guidelines, industry and regulators can work together to address events in a timely manner.”

The guidelines apply statewide.
 
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