Review of Well Operator Files for Hydraulically Fractured Oil and Gas Production Wells
Review of Well Operator Files for Hydraulically Fractured Oil and Gas Production Wells:
Well Design and Construction
Nathan Wiser and Susan Burden (both at the US Environmental Protection Agency)
Hydraulically fractured oil and gas production wells are designed, constructed, and completed to access and extract hydrocarbons from targeted geologic formations. Well components, such as casing and cement used to construct production wells, can block pathways for unintended subsurface gas and liquid movement to ground water resources. To help understand the role of well design and construction practices in preventing pathways for subsurface fluid movement, the EPA conducted a statistical survey of oil and gas production wells hydraulically fractured by nine oil and gas service companies in the United States during 2009 and 2010. Drilling, construction, and completion information from the study wells was collected from nine well operators and summarized. Data provided by the well operators were used to describe, for these wells: (1) well design and construction characteristics of hydraulically fractured oil and gas production wells, (2) the relationship of well design and construction characteristics to drinking water resources, and (3) the number and relative location of casing and cement barriers that can prevent subsurface fluid movement. This presentation reports the findings from the first survey of onshore oil and gas production wells hydraulically fractured in the continental United States, using data provided by well operators. These findings highlight important factors that should be considered when assessing the potential impacts of hydraulically fractured oil and gas production wells on drinking water resources.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this presentation are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views or policies of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.