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Title: Assessment of Gas Potential in the Niobrara Formation, Rosebud Reservation, South Dakota



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Research Org.:
National Energy Technology Laboratory - Energy Data eXchange; NETL
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Fossil Energy (FE)
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Country of Publication:
United States

Citation Formats

Alexandra Hakala. Assessment of Gas Potential in the Niobrara Formation, Rosebud Reservation, South Dakota. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.18141/1432254.
Alexandra Hakala. Assessment of Gas Potential in the Niobrara Formation, Rosebud Reservation, South Dakota. United States. doi:10.18141/1432254.
Alexandra Hakala. Mon . "Assessment of Gas Potential in the Niobrara Formation, Rosebud Reservation, South Dakota". United States. doi:10.18141/1432254.
title = {Assessment of Gas Potential in the Niobrara Formation, Rosebud Reservation, South Dakota},
author = {Alexandra Hakala},
abstractNote = {UCR TRS},
doi = {10.18141/1432254},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Mon Jan 23 00:00:00 EST 2017},
month = {Mon Jan 23 00:00:00 EST 2017}


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  • Surface water and groundwater risks associated with unconventional oil and gas development result from potential spills of the large volumes of chemicals stored on-site during drilling and hydraulic fracturing operations, and the return to the surface of significant quantities of saline water produced during oil or gas well production. To better identify and mitigate risks, watershed models and tools are needed to evaluate the dispersion of pollutants in possible spill scenarios. This information may be used to determine the placement of in-stream water-quality monitoring instruments and to develop early-warning systems and emergency plans. A chemical dispersion model has been usedmore » to estimate the contaminant signal for in-stream measurements. Spills associated with oil and gas operations were identified within the Susquehanna River Basin Commission’s Remote Water Quality Monitoring Network. The volume of some contaminants was found to be sufficient to affect the water quality of certain drainage areas. The most commonly spilled compounds and expected peak concentrations at monitoring stations were used in laboratory experiments to determine if a signal could be detected and positively identified using standard water-quality monitoring equipment. The results were compared to historical data and baseline observations of water quality parameters, and showed that the chemicals tested do commonly affect water quality parameters. This work is an effort to demonstrate that hydrologic and water quality models may be applied to improve the placement of in-stream water quality monitoring devices. This information may increase the capability of early-warning systems to alert community health and environmental agencies of surface water spills associated with unconventional oil and gas operations.« less
  • The Study area comprises Todd and Mellette counties in south-central South Dakota, Thirty houses in each county were surveyed for radon levels and the results were used to establish some relationship if any, between the radon levels and geological formations over which the houses are located, to depth to water table beneath the houses, to the location in the houses where the radon levels were measured, to houses with crawl space and without crawl space, to age of houses and to radon levels in groundwater beneath the houses. The radon levels in the houses surveyed ranges from less than 2more » pCi/l to 24 pCi/l (EPA Action level) in five houses in Todd County and thirteen houses in Mellette county. There are four geological formations over which the houses are located ranging from coarse sandstone, fine sandstone, siltstone to shale. The age of houses ranges from 1-3 years to over 30 years. Twenty groundwater samples were analyzed. The depth to water table ranges from less than 15 feet to over 100 feet. The average radon levels of 6 pCi/l was the highest in houses located on the Pierre Shale and Lowest on the Ogallala sandstone averaging 2.45 pCi/l. The older the houses the less the average radon detected. The average radon levels in houses 1-5 years old was 7.2 pCi/l as compared to 2.8 pCi/l in houses older than 30 years. The houses with basement and no crawl space indicated higher radon levels with an average of 4.28 pCi/l. Radon measured in basement of houses was higher, as compared to radon in the first floor of houses. There was no clear trend in the radon level in groundwater within the different geological formation and no clear trend between radon and depth to water table. Some houses with high radon were located in areas with shallow depth to water table. Radon in groundwater was not high enough for any concern. The data so far evaluated is limited. However, all other criteria being the same, the houses on the Pierre Shale indicated higher average radon level.« less
  • The deposition of the Niobrara Formation, Eagle Sandstone, and equivalent Upper Cretaceous rocks was controlled by paleotectonic activity on lineament-bound basement blocks in Montana and South Dakota. Linear features observed on Landsat images provide an interpretation of lineament geometry that is independent of stratigraphic data. Paleotectonism on lineament-bound blocks is documented in three areas that were located in distinctly different depositional environments. In central Montana, coastal and inner-shelf sandstones and nonmarine coastal-plain and wave-dominated delta deposits reflect paleotectonic control by lineaments trending north-south, east-west, northwest, and northeast. In the northern Black Hills, chalks and outer-shelf sandstones reflect control by lineamentsmore » trending north-south, northwest, and north-east. In central South Dakota, erosion and deposition of chalk and calcareous shale on a west-sloping carbonate ramp were controlled by lineaments that generally trend northeast and northwest. Paleotectonism on lineament-bound blocks characterized four tectonic zones located in the Late Cretaceous seaway; the western foredeep, the west-median trough, the east-median hinge, and the eastern platform. The regional geometry of all four tectonic zones appears to be related to the geometry of the convergent plate margin on the west. Paleotectonic activity on lineament-bound blocks may have been the result of horizontal forces related to the convergent margin and to vertical forces related to the movement of the North American plate.« less
  • A geochemical investigation of well waters from the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota revealed considerable diversity in the chemistry of the fluids and indicated that waters from the Dakota Formation were the best candidates for direct-use geothermal applications. Geothermometry calculations for all wells suggest that formation temperatures are <90 C. Potential scaling problems from utilization of the waters would most likely be restricted to carbonate scale and could be offset by maintaining CO{sub 2} gas in solution.
  • Chalk units in the Niobrara Formation (Upper Cretaceous) have potential for generation and accumulation of shallow, biogenic gas in the central and eastern Williston basin. Similar to area of Niobrara gas production in the eastern Denver basin, Niobrara chalks in South and North Dakota were deposited on carbonate ramps sloping westward off the stable eastern platform of the Western Interior seaway. Within the Williston basin, the Niobrara of the western Dakotas, eastern North Dakota, and central South Dakota has different stratigraphic relationships. These three areas can be further subdivided and ranked into six areas that have different exploration potential. Themore » south margin of the Williston basin in central South Dakota is the most attractive exploration area. Niobrara chalk reservoirs, source rocks, and structural traps in the southern Williston basin are similar to those in the eastern Denver basin. Chalk porosities are probably adequate for gas production, although porosity is controlled by burial depth. Organic carbon content of the chalk is high and shows of biogenic gas are reported. Large, low-relief structural features, which could serve as traps, are present.« less