XTO Energy Not Responsible for Earthquakes

RCC Studies Texas Quakes
RCC Studies Texas Quakes

The Texas Railroad Commission announced on Monday that Exxon’s XTO Energy was not likely responsible for a series of Texas earthquakes in 2013.

Related: Texas Earthquakes: The Verdict is Still Out

In April, a study published by researchers at SMU confirmed that oil and gas disposal wells were likely to blame for a series of earthquakes in Azle and Reno Texas. In spite of the public outcry, the Railroad Commission has long been skeptical of the link between fracking and earthquakes and publicly questioned the scientific evidence of the study.

The two wells blamed for the earthquakes belonged to XTO Energy and Enervest. The Texas Railroad Commission held hearings throughout the summer to investigate the matter. Both companies sent representatives to Austin to try and persuade the Texas Railroad Commission (RRC) that their operations were not to blame, and the RRC agreed.  

It appears to me the Railroad Commission’s main purpose is to protect the oil and gas industry, not regulate it. I’m not against oil and gas drilling; we need the energy production. It just needs to be done in a responsible manner.
— Azle Mayor, Alan Brundrett

Before 2008, Texas earthquakes were rare and both Azle and Reno experienced none. Since then, analysts have recorded over 150 significant quakes in North Texas including two magnitude 3.6 tremors in November and December of 2013.