The number of earthquakes declined in Oklahoma for the fifth consecutive year in 2019, as we continued to support scientific research and work with stakeholders to mitigate seismic activity related to oil and natural gas activities.
As a good neighbor and responsible member of our industry, Devon has been active in collaborative efforts to address seismicity associated with oil and natural gas activities in Oklahoma. We’ve supported scientific research, contributed data from our drilling and production activities to academic studies and adhered to directives from state regulators. During this time, earthquakes in the state declined steadily.
Devon is an original member of the Stanford Center for Induced and Triggered Seismicity, formed in 2013 to address the risks posed by earthquakes potentially related to industry operations. In April 2020, Stanford researchers released a new seismicity-management strategy based on the current understanding of induced earthquakes. The approach could allow regulators to design traffic-light protocols for oil and natural gas activities in a risk-informed manner. It also promotes transparent communication of risk to all stakeholders.
To advance work by state geologists to map previously undocumented faults, we contributed information to the Oklahoma Geological Survey from three-dimensional imaging derived through oil and natural gas exploration activities.
Devon also follows the Oklahoma Corporation Commission’s protocols, issued in 2018, to reduce the chances of earthquakes resulting from well completion activities. In the infrequent instances when the protocol was initiated, we complied by taking actions such as pausing our well completion operations.
Devon continues to partner with industry, academic researchers and government agencies to respond to public concerns and find ways to minimize seismic activity. We’re supporting research and monitoring progress toward a better understanding of the causes of seismic activity, including wastewater disposal wells in specific formations as a potential cause, as well as mitigation steps.