This frontier play may be one of the most productive gas producing regions in the West. But solving the environmental issues will be a major challenge.
Saline w ater disposal is the single most pressing issue w ith regard to increasing petroleum and natural gas production in the Uinta Basin of Utah. Conventional oil fields in the basin provide 69% of Utah’s total crude oil production and 71% of Utah’s total natural gas, the latter of w hich has increased 60% in the last 10 years (Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining, 2009).
As petroleum production increases, so does saline w ater production, creating an increased need for economic and environmentally responsible disposal plans. Current w ater disposal wells are near capacity and permitting for new w ells is being delayed because of a lack of technical data regarding potential disposal aquifers and questions concerning contamination of fresh water sources. Below are two seminal articles that will provide a sound beginning for an EFD design that companies can adapt.
Also included are two reports prepared by a team of graduate students in Graduate Drilling Class 661 (Dr. Jerome Schubert) for the spring semester 2010. While the reports are incomplete (no well design, no AFE) ,they provide an overview of the environmental decisioning that must be addressed before field development is tackled.