2017-2018 Corporate Responsibility


Proactively Addressing Seismic Activity in Oklahoma

As one of the most active producers in Oklahoma, Newfield recognizes public concerns about earthquakes, and has taken a proactive approach to induced seismicity. We have partnered with independent research institutions and state regulatory agencies to help identify and reduce potential causes of induced earthquakes.

Induced seismicity related to saltwater disposal (SWD) wells remains a significant concern of oil and gas operations in the north and central parts of the State. In this region, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) has aggressively managed SWD operations since 2014 by eliminating injection into the basement rock. In addition, the OCC also has focused on significantly reducing injections into the overlying Arbuckle formation—known to have a pathway to basement rock—but specifically located in Areas of Interest (AOIs), identified by the OCC. To view these AOIs, visit the OCC website.


We carefully monitor our company-operated SWD wells and have directed our third party produced water haulers to use only non-Arbuckle SWD wells. We currently operate two SWD wells in the Anadarko Basin and two in the Arkoma Basin to handle produced water from our operations. Although one of these company-operated SWD wells is located in an AOI, we do not inject into the Arbuckle formation.

Seismic events associated with hydraulic fracturing are rare, small and manageable and are seldom noticeable at the surface. However, if related events do occur as a result of hydraulic fracturing, they are quickly addressed through planning and comprehensive operating procedures.

We work closely with the OCC to monitor and mitigate any seismic activity in our operating areas to ensure the safe and responsible development of Oklahoma resources.


To reduce risks from underground injection of wastewater, we have invested millions of dollars in new technology to conserve and reuse produced and flowback water. In 2017, we opened our multi-million dollar Barton Recycling Facility in STACK, located in the Anadarko Basin. The facility processes on average approximately 30,000 barrels of produced water per day—redirecting produced water away from disposal in SWD wells. This reduces the potential for seismic events and ensures more fresh water stays at its source for agriculture and other community uses. Read more about the facility here.

Seismicity has not been an issue of concern in any other areas of our operations.



Commitment to Safety

Newfield follows the current “Risk Reduction Protocols” determined by the OCC:

  • Current SWD well operators must monitor injection rates and pressures daily, and submit information to the OCC.
  • New SWD permits must consider proximity to critically stressed faults and avoid injection into basement rock.
  • If seismic events “of concern” occur within a defined vicinity of an existing SWD, the operator must discuss geological and operational specifics with the OCC.
  • Mechanical integrity tests are required for all Oklahoma SWDs, annually for wells permitted to inject more than 20,000 BPD and as directed by the State for lower permit rates.
  • Basement injection is not allowed and Arbuckle-zoned injection has been prohibited or reduced within identified AOIs.


Proactive Initiatives

Saltwater Disposal

  • Pursuing alternatives to SWD wells, including recycling options.
  • Investing in new, lined surface ponds and pits to store and recycle water for use in completions.
  • Installing a water distribution network to provide both fresh and recycled produced water for completion activities.
  • Implemented new monitoring equipment around four SWD wells in Oklahoma to detect and document seismic activity.
  • Evaluating historical seismic data and geologic formations when designing new injection wells to identify natural faults and avoid potential areas of intersection.
  • Reviewing well records to identify producing wells, non-producing wells and water wells.
  • Working with academia, regulators (the OCC, OGS and USGS) and industry associations to establish new standards for SWD wells.
  • Collaborating with peers on alternative methods to produced water disposal including recycling.

To further minimize risk, we do not, nor do our third party water disposal operators, dispose of waste water in the Arbuckle formation.

Hydraulic Fracturing

  • Participating in a private array in SCOOP and STACK for 24/7 monitoring, 365 days a year.
  • Tracking seismic data before well completion for baseline levels; during completion for real-time observations; and after completion to monitor flowback.
  • Making operational adjustments to completions techniques if seismic activity is observed.
  • Following OCC’s guidance for proper response if events nearby are detected at thresholds of 2.5 or greater.


Partner in Research

  • Newfield is a member of the Stanford Center for Induced and Triggered Seismicity and supports its sound scientific approach and investigation into the causes of induced and triggered seismicity.
  • We have provided data to the OGS, academic institutions and industry associations to help with research efforts.
  • We have helped fund Arbuckle pressure data collection for use by the OCC and OGS.



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Page last updated on June 14, 2018