Daisy Creager | The Journal Record
OKLAHOMA CITY – An ongoing saltwater purge in Blaine and Kingfisher counties and the relationship between horizontal and vertical drillers will be among the issues the Oklahoma Energy Producers Alliance will take up during the upcoming legislative session.
In a presentation to state legislators Thursday at the state Capitol, OEPA leaders discussed concerns they hope will be addressed. Kurt Bollenbach, managing director of Teocalli Exploration, a small independent oil and gas operator primarily located in northwest Oklahoma, discussed the ongoing saltwater purge occurring on the border of Kingfisher and Blaine counties.
Reported to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission July, the purge lead regulators to issue orders for the temporary restriction of disposal wells in the area. Bollenbach said the purge has been caused by producers disposing of the toxic water at too shallow of depths. Water with a salinity just shy of the Dead Sea’s is purging from cracks in the ground at a rate of 2 to 15 gallons per minute, enough to fill a swimming pool every day.
Water was previously disposed of at depths of 1.5 to 2 miles beneath the surface, but seismic activity led the industry to dispose at about three-fourths of a mile beneath the surface, he said.
“The seasoned producers I’ve had discussions with as well as those professionals who are truly concerned with resolving this problem, we’ve had a general consensus of two things. One, this is not naturally occurring, we’ve caused it. Two, the purge is a symptom of simply forcing too much water at too high a pressure in too shallow of zones. In other words, we’re just overdoing it,” Bollenbach said.