Application of Near Surface Geophysical Technologies to Oil and Gas Environmental Issues
PREZBINDOWSKI, DENNIS R.
4D Consulting, Inc., Indianapolis, IN,
GRAHAM, A. QUENTIN
Handex of Indiana, Inc., Indianapolis, IN
The application of geophysical technology in the Oil and Gas industry has traditionally been in the area of exploration and hydrocarbon production. Recent advances in near surface geophysical instrumentation and investigation techniques have greatly enhanced the ability of geophysics to assist in the characterization and remediation of environmental problems associated with past and current hydrocarbon production. Electro-magnetic induction (EMI), magnetic, resistivity and ground penetrating radar (GPR) technologies in conjunction with Phase I and Phase II environmental investigations provide for rapid and improved characterization of impacted oil and gas production sites. EMI and magnetic techniques have been used to locate abandoned wells and buried metallic infrastructure. Conductivity and resistivity surveys have been used to delineate cut and fill features, impacted soil volumes and ground water contaminant plumes associated with brine pits and improperly plugged and abandoned oil and gas wells. GPR is a developing technology that can be used to precisely locate buried flow lines and further refine delineation of subsurface targets.
The application of shallow geophysical technology to the environmental issues of locating, assessing and implementing a remediation program can be very cost effective. Large areas can be investigated in relatively short periods of time. The results of these investigations can guide and complement a smart drilling/sampling program that avoids over-drilling common with a “dart board” approach to site characterization. Shallow geophysical approaches can characterize the whole site, minimizing costly environmental/geological surprises that commonly occur between wells in the traditional, stand alone, shallow drilling/geoprobe approach to site characterization.