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LeBlanc, Rufus1, Victor T. Jones1 
(1) Exploration Technologies, Inc, Houston, TX

ABSTRACT: Assessment of Casing Leaks from Wells in Oil and Gas Fields and Gas Storage Fields to Determine Environmental Hazards in Areas of Urban Development

From 1942 to 1945 there was a spectacular surface/subsurface blowout from a casing leak in an oil and gas well in Bammel Field, Harris County, Texas. The oil and gas from the well severely impacted the surrounding fresh water aquifers. The results of the blowout to the aquifers were investigated and documented by geologists with the USGS from 1942 to 1945. After depletion of the oil and gas reserves in the subsurface reservoirs, Bammel Field was converted to an underground natural gas storage field. 
Because the Bammel blowout was so spectacular, it has served as a scapegoat for most of the reported cases of petroleum contamination in water wells in northern Harris County. Other cases of either chlorides, methane, or BTEX in the groundwater of MUD wells have been attributed to this incident. A detailed retrospective analysis of the Bammel blowout, in light of more recent knowledge, provides an excellent model of contamination of an aquifer by a defective oil and gas well. Five distinct time episodes have been recognized regarding aquifer responses from the incident. 
There have been recent reported incidents of methane and BTEX in groundwater from MUD wells surrounding Bammel Gas Storage Field. Investigations to determine the cause have not been of sufficient depth or scope. 
Proper assessment of casing leaks always requires in-depth integrated investigations by health agency professionals, environmental engineers, petroleum geologists and petroleum engineers.


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