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Injection Versus Disposal Wells

Saltwater Disposal Well

Straightforward Operation- Saltwater Disposal Wells

Introduction…Due to our current opportunity in acquiring Saltwater disposal Wells, further discussion of the topic is appropriate.  So, what is the difference between injection wells and disposal wells?

Disposal wells may be used to inject mineralized water produced with oil and gas into underground zones for the purpose of safely and efficiently disposing of the fluid. Typically, the underground interval is one that is not productive of oil and gas. In some cases, however, the disposal interval is a productive zone from which oil or natural gas has been produced or is currently produced. In either case, the disposal interval must be sealed above and below by unbroken, impermeable rock layers.

Injection wells inject fluids into a reservoir for the purpose of enhanced oil recovery from the reservoir. The vast majority of wells in Texas are injection wells. Operators use injection wells to increase or maintain pressure in an oil field that has been depleted by oil production and also to displace or sweep more oil toward producing wells. This type of secondary recovery is sometimes referred to as waterflooding.

Why Texas is so great…Texas is the nation’s number one oil and gas producer with more than 294,543 active oil and gas wells statewide according to oil and gas well proration schedules (as of September 2016). Injection and disposal wells are also located throughout the state to improve oil and gas recovery and to safely dispose of the produced water and hydraulic fracturing flowback fluid from oil and gas wells.

Texas has more than 54,700 permitted oil and gas injection and disposal wells with approximately 35,915 currently active as of September 2016. Of these 35,915 active injection and disposal wells, about 7,482 are wells that are used for disposal, the remainder (about 28,433) are injection wells.

Operators requirements...Operators are required to follow the Texas Railroad Commission (Commission) disposal regulations administered by the agency’s Technical Permitting Section – Underground Injection Control (UIC) Program. Underground Injection Control is a program that is federally delegated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to Texas, and it follows national guidelines under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act for surface and groundwater protection. EPA awarded the Commission primary enforcement responsibility over oil and gas injection and disposal wells on April 23, 1982.

In conclusion…Disposal wells ( our current focus)  are not terribly complicated as compared to oil and gas exploration and development.  Nevertheless, certrain requirements of the Texas Railroad Commission are required.  The Commission is oneof the first agencies our team contacts during due dilegence on any future saltwater well purchase is the Commission.

Source: “Injection and Disposal Wells,” Texas Railroad Commission, rrc.state.tx.us