Hydraulic Fracturing - Using Geology & Planning To Avoid Environmental Impacts
James M. Kerr Jr., Angus McGrath, and Thomas Fendler
Stantec Consulting Services, Inc
The collection of accurate geologic, geochemical, and hydrogeologic data and the proper planning of the drilling program through completion and production can help identify background conditions and avoid environmental impacts commonly associated with hydraulic fracturing. Once a prospect is identified, it is important to understand the geology above the target zone and any connection to current or future groundwater resources; collectively known as well pad risk evaluation or analysis. The drilling program, including casing setting depths, should be planned to take into account potable water bearing zones, identification of saline zones and shallow gas zones that maybe encountered during drilling. Additional considerations such as the collection of geochemical groundwater parameters and/or depth discrete gas samples during drilling may be warranted depending upon the location of the well pad. Cement bond logs and pressure tests should be run to verify proper casing installation and integrity. Pre-drill and post-drill monitoring and sampling programs should be developed to determine baseline conditions and protect against future liability. Personnel should be available to respond to public inquiries of water quality concerns if there is a perception of impacts related to drilling activities. Well head testing, SPCC Plans, Facility Response Plans (if required), and Spill Response Planning and Drills should conducted to avoid and/or minimize environmental impacts. Finally, a team with the proper Incident Command System (ICS) training and experience should be identified that can immediately respond in the event that a release related to drilling, hydraulic fracturing or production activities occurs.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90169©2013 AAPG Rocky Mountain Section 62nd Annual Meeting, Salt Lake City, Utah, September 22-24, 2013