order is normally requested prior to initiating secondary recovery operations and is granted with the consent of the majority of the affected oil and gas operators. Because a unitization order is granted by a state’s oil and gas governing body, it can also include requirements to limit fluid withdrawal for a variety of reasons. These might include conservation of the oil and gas resource, limited injection of fluid, or induced seismic events. Although many oil and gas fields have been unitized in the United States, we know of no instance where produced fluid volumes have been curtailed to limit induced seismicity.
Although the SDWA provides a regulatory framework for the underground injection of fluids, the act does not explicitly address the issue of induced seismicity or how induced seismic events should be investigated and regulated. Currently, many different agencies have oversight of the UIC program, such as the EPA, various state agencies, the BLM, and the USFS. To date, these various agencies have dealt with induced seismic events with different and localized actions, using input from additional government agencies such as the USGS and various state geologic surveys, as well as university researchers. These efforts to respond to incidence of perceived induced seismicity have been successful but are of an ad hoc nature and can vary widely depending on the different agencies involved.
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