An Assessment of the Probability of Subsurface Contamination of Aquifers From Oil and Gas Wells in the Wattenberg Field, Modified for Water-Well Location
- Carver H. Stone (Colorado School of Mines) | Will W. Fleckenstein (Colorado School of Mines) | Alfred W. Eustes III (Colorado School of Mines)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Production & Operations
- Publication Date
- February 2019
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 1 - 17
- 2019.Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Barrier Assessment, Fracturing, Wellbore Integrity
- 30 in the last 30 days
- 113 since 2007
- Show more detail
- View rights & permissions
|SPE Member Price:||USD 10.00|
|SPE Non-Member Price:||USD 30.00|
The United States National Science Foundation has funded a sustainability-research network focused on natural-gas development in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States. The objective of this specific study is the assessment of the use of existing water wells to monitor the risk of contamination by the migration of fracturing fluids or hydrocarbons to freshwater aquifers. An additional objective of the study is to modify existing risk estimates using the spatial relationships between the existing water wells and producing oil wells. This will allow estimates of single-barrier failure and multiple-barrier failure, resulting in contamination projections for oil and gas wells in areas without surrounding water wells to detect migration, dependent on well-construction type.
Since 1970, the Wattenberg Field in Colorado has had a large number of oil and gas wells drilled. These wells are interspaced tightly with agricultural and urban development from the nearby Denver metropolitan area. This provides a setting with numerous water wells that have been drilled within this area of active petroleum development. Data from 17,948 wells drilled were collected and analyzed in Wattenberg Field, allowing wells to be classified by construction type and analyzed for barrier failure and source of aquifer contamination. The assessment confirms that although natural-gas migration occurring in poorly constructed wellbores is infrequent, it can happen, and the migration risk is determined by the well-construction standards. The assessment also confirms that there has been no occurrence of hydraulic-fracturing-fluid contamination of freshwater aquifers through wellbores. The assessment determines both the spatial proximity of oil and gas wells and surface-casing depth to water wells to then determine the utility of water wells to monitor migration in oil wells.
|File Size||2 MB||Number of Pages||17|
API RP 90, Annular Casing Pressure Management of Offshore Wells, Upstream Segment. 2006. Washington, DC: API.
ArcGIS. 2016. Average Depths to the Niobrara Formation and Fox Hills Aquifer and Thickness of the Pierre Shale, Denver Basin, http://www.arcgis.com/home/webmap/viewer.html?webmap=7e6fe64d371a4fb692b42c3cd8824e7f (accessed 15 January 2016).
Birdsell, D. T., Rajaram, H., Dempsey, D. et al. 2015. Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid Migration in the Subsurface: A Review and Expanded Modeling Results. Water Resour. Res. 51 (9): 7159–7188. https://doi.org/10.1002/2015WR017810.
Drake, R. M. II, Brennan, S. T., Covault, J. A. et al. 2014. Geologic Framework for the National Assessment of Carbon Dioxide Storage Resources-Denver Basin, Colorado, Wyoming, and Nebraska. In Geologic Framework for the National Assessment of Carbon Dioxide Storage Resources, ed. P. D. Warwick and M. D. Corum, Chap. G, Open-File Report 2012-1024-G. US Department of the Interior, US Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia.
Fisher, M. K. and Warpinski, N. R. 2011. Hydraulic Fracture-Height Growth: Real Data. Presented at the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, Denver, 30 October–2 November. SPE-145949-MS. https://doi.org/10.12118/145949-MS.
Fleckenstein, W. W., Eustes, A. W., Stone, C. H. et al. 2015. An Assessment of Risk of Migration of Hydrocarbons or Fracturing Fluids to Fresh Water Aquifers: Wattenberg Field, CO. Presented at the SPE Kuwait Oil & Gas Show and Conference, Mishref, Kuwait, 11–14 October. SPE-175401-MS. https://doi.org/10.2118/175401-MS.
Hammack, R., Harbert, W., Sharma, S. et al. 2014. An Evaluation of Fracture Growth and Gas/Fluid Migration as Horizontal Marcellus Shale Gas Wells are Hydraulically Fractured in Greene County, Pennsylvania. Report NETL-TRS-3-2014. EPAct Technical Report Series, US Department of Energy, Office of Fossil Energy, National Energy Technology Laboratory, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Higley, D. K. 2007. Petroleum Systems and Assessment of Undiscovered Oil and Gas in the Denver Basin Province, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wyoming-USGS Province 39. US Geological Survey Digital Data Series DDS-69-P. US Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia.
Kappel, W. M. and Nystrom, E. A. 2012. Dissolved Methane in New York Groundwater. Opn-File Report 2012-1162. US Geological Survey and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Ithaca, New York, August 2012.
Kent, H. C. 1972. Review of Phanerozoic History. In Geologic Atlas of the Rocky Mountain Region, ed. W. W. Mallory, 56–59. Denver: Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists.
King, G. E. 2010. Thirty Years of Gas Shale Fracturing: What Have We Learned? Presented at the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, Florence, Italy, 19–22 September. SPE-133456-MS. https://doi.org/10.2118/133456-MS.
King, G. E. 2012. Hydraulic Fracturing 101: What Every Representative, Environmentalist, Regulator, Reporter, Investor, University Researcher, Neighbor and Engineer Should Know About Estimating Frac Risk and Improving Frac Performance in Unconventional Gas and Oil Wells. Presented at the SPE Hydraulic Fracturing Technology Conference, The Woodlands, Texas, 6–8 February. SPE-152596-MS. https://doi.org/10.2118/152596-MS.
King, G. E. and King, D. E. 2013. Environmental Risk Arising From Well Construction Failure: Differences Between Barrier Failure and Well Failure, and Estimates of Failure Frequency Across Common Well Types, Locations and Well Age. Presented at the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, New Orleans, 30 September–2 October. SPE-166142-MS. https://doi.org/10.2118/166142-MS.
Li, H. 2013. Produced Water Quality Characterization and Prediction for Wattenberg Field. Master’s thesis, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado.
Li, H. and Carlson, K. H. 2014. Distribution and Origin of Groundwater Methane in the Wattenberg Oil and Gas Field of Northern Colorado. Environ. Sci. Technol. 48 (3): 1484–1491. https://doi.org/10.1021/es404668b.
Robson, S. G. and Banta, E. R. 1995. Ground Water Atlas of the United States: Segment 2, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah. Hydrologic Atlas 730-C. US Department of the Interior, US Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia.
Sonnenberg, S. A. and Weimer, R. J. 2005. Wattenberg Field Area, A Near Miss & Lessons Learned After 35 Years of Development History. Presentation, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colorado.
Strauss, J., Schaiberger, A., Rosenau, N. et al. 2014. Using Stable Isotopes and Water Quality to Investigate Sources of Stray Gas in the Wattenberg Field of Colorado. Presented at the Unconventional Resources Technology Conference, Denver, 25–27 August. URTEC-1922468-MS. https://doi.org/10.15530/URTEC-2014-1922468.
Weimer, R. J., Sonnenberg, S. A., and Young, G. B. C. 1986. Wattenberg Field, Denver Basin, Colorado. AAPG Stud. Geol. 24: 143–164.