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Hammack, Richard W.1, Garret A. Veloski1, Terry E. Ackman1, James I. Sams1, Richard Cool2
(1) US Dept of Energy-NETL, Pittsburgh, PA
(2) State of Wyoming, Casper, WY

ABSTRACT: Using Helicopter Electromagnetic Surveys to Determine the Fate of Water Co-produced with Coalbed Natural Gas in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming

The Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory has conducted airborne surveys of seven coalbed natural gas producing areas in the Powder River Basin. Helicopter electromagnetic (HEM) surveys are being used to map the distribution of produced water around impoundments. Results of these surveys can be grouped into three different categories: 1) areas where the produced water is more conductive than the shallow groundwater and HEM surveys can easily discern the plume of infiltrating produced water; 2) areas where the produced water exhibits the same conductivity as natural groundwater and the plume cannot be detected (in this case, the produced water is not degrading the native groundwater and is not of concern); and 3) areas where the produced water is less conductive than natural groundwater and the produced water has diluted the solutes and improved the quality of the native groundwater. Examples of all three categories have been identified. Such knowledge will allow impoundments to be designed better and will facilitate the intelligent use of produced water. Based on the data, it appears that this technique will prove to be useful to land use planners, natural gas producing companies, and state regulatory personnel.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90026©2004 AAPG Annual Meeting, Dallas, Texas, April 18-21, 2004.