Ohio Well Operations Shut Down for Causing Earthquakes
Ohio has suspended operations of five deep-well hazardous fluid disposal sites after a 4.0 scale earthquake hit Youngstown Saturday—the largest of a series of 11 over the last year.
To be overly cautious, the Mahoning County wells owned by Northstar Disposal Services LLC will be shut down for the time being under the orders of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. That will include disposal injections at the 9,000 feet/deep site along with any others within a 5-mile radius.
Concerned that pressure from the fluid disposal could be affecting a previously unknown fault line, it is unsure when or if the wells will resume operations. Others fear that the process of injecting fluid that is unsuitable for landfills into sandstone far below groundwater level may also start affecting water supplies over the next couple years.
Furthermore, earthquakes were not common to the area until drilling began in mid-summer. When the first injection disposal began in December of 2010, the first earthquake happened the following year in March with many more to follow, gradually increasing in magnitude.
Ohio Governor John Kasich reacted quickly on behalf of the safety of the public, according to his spokesman Robert Nicholas. “We fully expect to be criticized for overreacting on this, but we are OK with that,” he told MSNBC.
That reaction makes for an interesting contrast to the case of fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, for oil and gas. Despite concerns of the highly probable seismic events occurring from fracking operations around the world, the industry remains unhurt, continuing forward with countless projects.
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Ohio officials claim that the earthquake was not caused by fracking, but rather from the injection of waste as a result of fracking. In October, a similar incident occurred in South Texas when a 4.8 magnitude earthquake struck a center point for natural gas and oil production in the Eagle Ford Shale. At that time, the correlation between pumping water back into the ground with seismic activity was not yet an assertion.
Now, it has become more apparent that it's time to change how the wells operate. "That is one of the things that would be discussed, possibly plugging the well to a certain level,” Ohio Department of Natural Resources deputy director Andy Ware told MSNBC. "We will continue to monitor and have our geologists monitor the data."
Hydrostor receives $4m funding for A-CAES facility in Canada
Hydrostor has received $4m funding to develop a 300-500MW Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES) facility in Canada.
The funding will be used to complete essential engineering and planning, and enable Hydrostor to plan construction.
The project will be modeled on Hydrostor’s commercially operating Goderich storage facility, providing up to 12 hours of energy storage.
Hydrostor’s A-CAES system supports Canada’s green economic transition by designing, building, and operating emissions-free energy storage facilities, and employing people, suppliers, and technologies from the oil and gas sector.
The Honorable Seamus O’Regan, Jr. Minister of Natural Resources, said: “Investing in clean technology will lower emissions and increase our competitiveness. This is how we get to net zero by 2050.”
A-CAES has the potential to lower greenhouse gas emissions by enabling the transition to a cleaner and more flexible electricity grid. Specifically, the low-impact and cost-effective technology will reduce the use of fossil fuels and will provide reliable and bankable energy storage solutions for utilities and regulators, while integrating renewable energy for sustainable growth.
Curtis VanWalleghem, Hydrostor’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are grateful for the federal government’s support of our long duration energy storage solution that is critical to enabling the clean energy transition. This made-in-Canada solution, with the support of NRCan and Sustainable Development Technology Canada, is ready to be widely deployed within Canada and globally to lower electricity rates and decarbonize the electricity sector."
The Rosamond A-CAES 500MW Project is under advanced development and targeting a 2024 launch. It is designed to turn California’s growing solar and wind resources into on-demand peak capacity while allowing for closure of fossil fuel generating stations.
Hydrostor closed US$37 million (C$49 million) in growth financing in September 2019.