CA Shuts 2 Oil Disposal Wells

Thursday, August 28, 2014 @ 05:08 PM gHale

Two more Kern County, CA, oil field disposal wells were shut in, bringing the total to 11 facilities idled since the start of July.

Emergency orders ended up issued Aug. 18 closing the facilities as of noon Saturday. State Oil and Gas Supervisor Steven R. Bohlen issued the orders. California’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) disclosed the orders Tuesday.

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Both wells are northeast of Bakersfield. Santa Monica-based Macpherson Oil Co. operates one of the wells located in the Round Mountain field. State records said the well injected more than 9 million gallons of produced water — the saline fluid that typically comes up along with oil — into the Olcese formation last year.

Bakersfield-based Gray Development Co. LLC owns the other well. Located in the Kern River field, it injected nearly 4 million gallons of produced water into the Santa Margarita formation last year, state records show.

DOGGR had approved operation of both disposal wells, as it had with 12 other Kern facilities the division issued emergency closure orders for last month. Three of those have since resumed operation.

DOGGR is under orders from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to re-examine its oversight of injection wells. The EPA has expressed concerns the facilities may be injecting waste into federally protected groundwater.

Bohlen’s orders said both wells closed this month may contain water suitable for irrigation or domestic purposes and may not have contained oil or gas at the time injection began.

The orders call for the wells’ operators to provide chemical analyses, reports and other information to DOGGR and the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board.

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