HOUSTON (KTRK) --Fracking, the process of forcing fluid into shale rock---and cracking it to release oil and/or gas is controversial. It's led to a lot of jobs and given the US a natural gas glut. But some wonder if it's also led to earthquakes like the one this weekend in Oklahoma.
After Saturday's earthquake, the state of Oklahoma isn't taking any chances. Whether the quake is connected to oil & gas exploration or not, they're telling companies to begin shutting down the wells that gather wastewater from a process called hydrofracturing or fracking. The shutdown of 37 wells won't happen all at once.
"We don't want to make the situation worse by a sudden volume cut back. We've long been told you need to stage your cutbacks. What we're right now checking into is how to stage this. What is the quickest, safest way?," said Matt Skinner of the OK Corporation Commission.
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While some in Oklahoma, and elsewhere, are convinced the increased seismic activity in the Sooner state is a direct result of fracking, others don't buy it. They think it's more coincidental than one causing the other.
"People have fracking up there for a long time. And people have been injecting water even longer. So why is this now coming up today to talk about," said William Drennan of WTD Resources. "I think it is a lot of people without education reaching out and looking for something to grasp onto and say, 'See, this is the problem for all of these earthquakes.'."
The Oklahoma Geological survey lats year did release a report in which it suggested there is a connection between delayed seismic activity and oil & gas exploration. It says the activity is because of the wastewater wells and not the hydro-fracturing itself.