COGCC halts activity at injection well; seeks additional review

Deep injection well
Deep injection well

Here’s the release from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (Todd Hartman/Matt Lepore):

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission this week directed High Sierra Water Services to stop disposing wastewater into one of its Weld County injection wells.

The company agreed to a 20-day halt to wastewater injection as a cautionary step the COGCC believes necessary to gather and further analyze more information to determine whether injection at the site is tied to recent seismic activity recorded within the general vicinity of the well.

Ongoing monitoring by a team of University of Colorado seismologists has picked up additional evidence of low-level seismic activity near the injection site, including a 2.6-magnitude event Monday afternoon. The additional data comes after a 3.4 magnitude earthquake shook the Greeley area May 31.

“In light of the findings of CU’s team, we think it’s important we review additional data, bring in additional expertise and closely review the history of injection at this site in order to more fully understand any potential link to seismicity and use of this disposal well,” said COGCC director Matt Lepore.

The COGCC will undertake several actions over the shutdown period to include: evaluation of baseline, historical seismic activity; continued coordination with the CU team; coordination with the U.S. Geological Survey and Colorado Geological Survey; evaluation of other disposal wells in the area; and a detailed review of data associated with the well in question, including further examination of injection rates, pressures and volumes.

The company immediately agreed to COGCC’s request, and shut the well down on Monday.

From The Greeley Tribune:

Noble Energy continued on Monday to clean up the oil spill it located Friday along the Poudre River near Windsor, according to a news release from the Colorado Department of Natural Resources.

Noble began to dismantle a damaged tank battery Monday in preparation for soil removal, according to the release, after about 173 barrels — or about 7,500 gallons — of crude oil were found to have spilled from the tank while the Poudre River was flooding.

On Saturday, Noble established site security, repaired the access road and had a crew of approximately 30 people using absorbent pads to clean up visible residual oil, according to the release. Soil samples were collected along the path of the release and submitted for laboratory analysis, according to the release, and the results of that analysis are still pending.

Visual observations by Noble along the flow path indicated the oil did not seep deep into the soil, so removal of the soil was ruled out as the main way to clean up the spill, according to the release.

Instead, a product known as Petro Green was applied to help enhance the degradation of any remaining hydrocarbons, according to the release.

Noble also had a consultant perform a biological study on the area, according to the release, and it was determined no wildlife were impacted by the spill.

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