Tuesday, September 2, 2014

As goes California so goes the country…

In 2013, the Bureau of Land Management of California commissioned an independent review of well stimulation technologies by the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST). It recently released its findings with 9 main conclusions which is summarized below from the report.

1. Well stimulation in California is different than in other states, primarily due to geology.

2. Future oil recovery using hydraulic fracturing is expanded in and near existing oil fields in the San Joaquin Basin by production practices similar to today’s.

3. The Energy Information Agency suggests a new class of very deep unconventional reservoirs in the source rocks themselves, especially in the Monterey Formation.

4. Current hydraulic fracturing operations in California require a fraction of statewide water use by comparison to other states; 130,000 - 210,000 gallons of water per well to 4 million gallons per well in the Eagle Ford Formation in Texas.

5. There are no publicly reported instances of potable water contamination from subsurface releases in California.

6. The toxicity of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing fluids requires further review. Recently-enacted Senate Bill 4 now requires full disclosure.

7. Some chemicals used for hydraulic fracturing may become incorporated in the water that is produced along with the oil.

8. Currently-practiced well stimulation technologies do not result in a significant increase in seismic hazard.

9. The direct environmental impacts of well stimulation practice in California appear to be relatively limited.

CA Senate Bill 4 is directing three future studies by the CCST in geology and well stimulation treatments, generic and potential environmental impacts of well stimulation treatments, and case studies with selected evaluations of environmental and public health risk, all to be released in mid-2015.

It’ll be interesting to follow the development and conclusions of these scientific reports, as well as, the responses of state government through regulations. It may seem unnecessary to be concerned about these developments if operating in Texas or Pennsylvania reserves, but everyone knows as goes California, so goes the country. Steps taken here will lead to nationwide changes. Start the journey with SimSci.