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D & L Energy Group preps North Lima injection well for operations

October 9, 2012
Morning Journal News

NORTH LIMA - Motorist on state Route 7 near the North Lima Ohio Turnpike exchange will see a temporary 100-foot tall derrick as part of the scenery.

The derrick was just installed for an improved injection well.

In a prepared press release, D&L Energy Group, an independent energy production and marketing company headquartered in Youngstown, said the final construction phase for a brine injection well was started on Monday.

"This equipment is to assist with improvement plans approved by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR)," it said.

Bore pipe will be removed, allowing D&L to apply a cement footing to the bottom of the well. "This footing will act as a buffer and prevent injected material from entering lower rock formations primarily the Precambrian," the company said.

The bore pipe, which had been maintaining the integrity of the well in preparation for this phase of work, will be re-inserted after the cement floor fully cures and is tested.

The work is expected to take about one week and Vince Bevacqua, executive vice president of ShaleComm, said no date is set to begin active injection, but it could be during the last quarter of this year or in the first quarter of 2013.

According to the ODNR, "Ohio's Class II disposal wells include conventional brine injection wells, annular disposal wells, and enhanced oil recovery injection wells.

"Enhanced recovery injection wells are used to increase production of hydrocarbons from nearby producing wells."

D&L Energy said ODNR has issued all permits and approvals for the completion and future operations and state inspectors will be on site to oversee the entire project.

The well will accept brine from anywhere and Ohio has a surcharge for out-of-state waste customers.

Oil-field brine is a saline by-product generated during oil and gas well operations, the ODNR said. The salinity, or dissolved content, of Ohio oil-field brines vary considerably from one geologic formation and can vary regionally within the same formation. Ohio brines can be more than six times as salty as seawater.

Approximately 98 percent of all brine is safely disposed of by injection back into brine-bearing or depleted oil and gas formations deep below the surface. Nearly two percent is spread for dust and ice control subject to local government approval and requirements.

Bevacqua said the well, re-purposed for underground injection was originally permitted for a deeper hole of 10,088 feet but under the new state law (SB 315) will be drilled to 9,581, or 500 feet less. "They're taking a lot of the older and shallower wells and re-purposing them," he said.

There are about 180 injection wells around the state, he said, noting the nearest injection well is about 7.3 miles southwest of North Lima and is owned by White Energy.

Senate Bill 315 was signed into law in June and allows ODNR to keep a closer eye on brine haulers by detailed

tracking and requires injection well owners to electronically transmit detailed, quarterly reports to ODNR with information about each shipment. Other provisions in the law call for unannounced injection well inspections every 11-12 weeks as compared to the United States EPA's once a year inspections; requires continuous mechanical integrity monitoring or monthly tests to demonstrate the mechanical integrity.

The U.S. EPA requires well owners to demonstrate the mechanical integrity at least once every five years. According to the ODNR website, the new law also encourages oil and gas well operators to enter into Road Use Maintenance Agreements (RUMAs) with local governments and places responsibility for road construction and repairs on well operators.

The law also created the nation's first combined well construction and hydraulic fracturing chemical disclosure requirement, requiring chemical disclosure during all aspects of the initial drilling process and during hydraulic fracturing, while adhering to existing federal and state trade secret/proprietary laws.

However, ODNR can upon request obtain proprietary chemical formulas to conduct an investigation or in response to a spill.

Typically, the ODNR said, proprietary chemical formulas comprise less than 0.01percent of the total fluid used to hydraulically fracture a well.

The public has the ability to view hydraulic fracturing fluid compositions used at specific wells at ODNR is in the process of developing a searchable database where the public can also view the chemicals used in wells.

Last December, the ODNR shut down an injection well operated by Northstar Disposal Services LLC in Youngstown after a series of minor earthquakes occurred in 2011 within two miles of the well, which began operations three months ahead of the first quake.

Each registered at 2.7 magnitude or lower until a 4.0 magnitude earthquake struck on Dec. 31 and was felt for hundreds of miles. Geologists say earthquakes above a 4.0 in magnitude will typically cause surface damage.

An investigation learned the earthquakes were almost certainly induced by injection of gas-drilling wastewater into the earth, according to state regulators. The Youngstown-area well has been the only site with seismic activity, the ODNR said.

"The has never been an injection well that either failed or polluted nearby water and land," Bevacqua said.



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