Water-related Issues Affecting Conventional Oil and Gas Recovery and Potential Oil-Shale Development in the Uinta Basin, Utah
Water-related Issues Affecting Conventional Oil and Gas Recovery and Potential Oil-Shale Development in the Uinta Basin, Utah Saline water disposal is one of the most pressing issues with regard to increasing petroleum and natural gas production in the Uinta Basin of northeastern Utah. Conventional oil fields in the basin provide 69 percent of Utah?s total crude oil production and 71 percent of Utah?s total natural gas, the latter of which has increased 208% in the past 10 years. Along with hydrocarbons, wells in the Uinta Basin produce significant quantities of saline water ? nearly 4 million barrels of saline water per month in Uintah County and nearly 2 million barrels per month in Duchesne County. As hydrocarbon production increases, so does saline water production, creating an increased need for economic and environmentally responsible disposal plans. Current water disposal wells are near capacity, and permitting for new wells is being delayed because of a lack of technical data regarding potential disposal aquifers and questions concerning contamination of freshwater sources. Many companies are reluctantly resorting to evaporation ponds as a short-term solution, but these ponds have limited capacity, are prone to leakage, and pose potential risks to birds and other wildlife. Many Uinta Basin operators claim that oil and natural gas production cannot reach its full potential until a suitable, long-term saline water disposal solution is determined. The enclosed project was divided into more »
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