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Case Study for Selecting and Implementing Practical and Cost-Effective Technologies to Remediate Soil and Groundwater from Natural Gas Compression Facilities, West Panhandle Field, Texas

Jacobs, Michael 2; Hughes, Kyle 3; Miller, Brent A.1
1 Geosyntec Consultants, Federal Way, WA.
2 Pioneer Natural Resources, Midland, TX.
3 Pioneer Natural Resources, Amarillo, TX.

In 2001, an environmental assessment of soil and groundwater contamination associated with natural gas production was conducted by Pioneer Natural Resources USA Inc. The gas compression and production facilities are located in the West Panhandle Field, Moore and Potter Counties, Texas, and have been in operation since the 1930s. Shallow and/or deep soil contamination, primarily from used lube oil and natural gas condensate was discovered at most of the gas compression facilities. Limited amounts of non-aqueous phase liquids (NAPL) were observed on shallow perched water- bearing zones at two sites and dissolved phase (BTEX) plumes with benzene concentrations exceeding drinking water standards were observed at a total of six sites. The depths to the shallow perched water-bearing zones at these sites varied from approximately 20 to 40 feet below ground surface.

Pioneer Natural Resources USA, Inc. designed a proactive, practical, and cost effective program for the selection and implementation of active systems to remediate these sites as part of the Operator and Voluntary Cleanup Programs (OCP/VCP) administered by the Railroad Commission of Texas. In 2005, five biovent (BV), two soil vapor extraction (SVE), one biosparging (BS), and one multiphase extraction (MPE) systems were designed, constructed, and operated to achieve cleanup of soil and groundwater at the six sites. Remediation was completed at five of the six sites within two years of startup, with completion of the final site expected in 2008.

In 2005, the remediation program was nominated by the Texas Railroad Commission for the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission’s Environmental Stewardship Award and received Honorable Mention.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90090©2009 AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition, Denver, Colorado, June 7-10, 2009