Texas Regulator Clears XTO Energy of Causing Quakes

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A state inquiry has found that an oil and gas company’s disposal well operations likely did not cause a series of North Texas earthquakes.

Examiners with the Railroad Commission, Texas’ oil and gas regulator, released preliminary findings Monday. They said a well where ExxonMobil subsidiary XTO Energy pumps millions of gallons of briny water produced by hydraulic fracturing did not cause the seismic activity that shook Reno, TX, in 2013 and 2014.

The findings contradict a study published by Southern Methodist University geologists in April pinning the earthquakes to the XTO well and a well operated by Houston-based Enervest.

Parties in the hearing have 15 days to file exceptions to the recommendations. Spokeswoman Ramona Nye said the commission will take a final action at a “future, open public meeting.”

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