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Well, well, work begins

October 9, 2012
By LARRY SHIELDS - Staff Writer , Salem 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.

D&L Energy Group on Monday said the final construction phase for a brine injection well have begun.

"This equipment is to assist with improvement plans approved by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR)," the company said in a press release.

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. 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.

D&L Energy said ODNR representatives will be on site to oversee the entire project.

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

Oil-field brine is a saline byproduct generated during oil and gas well operations, the ODNR said. 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 2 percent is spread for dust and ice control subject to local government approval and requirements.

Bevacqua said the well will be 9,581 feet deep, about 500 less than originally planned. "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 public can 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 in Youngstown after a series of minor earthquakes 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. 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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