Methodology for Determination of Texas Oil Fields Eligible for Variance from Area of Review Requirements in Underground Injection Control Regulations for Class II Injection Wells- Revised Final Technical Report

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The permitting process for salt-water injection wells mandates that oil companies or operators conduct an Area of Review (AOR) study within a 0.25-mile radius of a proposed well. The primary goal of an AOR study is to pinpoint unplugged wells that could potentially allow injected fluids to migrate upward from the production zone, posing a risk to the overlying underground sources of drinking water (USDW).

In collaboration with the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC), the Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG) at the University of Texas at Austin assessed oil fields across Texas to explore potential variations to the AOR permitting process. This assessment focused on evaluating the separation between production-zone fluid levels and the base of USDW. The aim was to provide the RRC and the industry with valuable data and methodology to facilitate AOR variance applications and the review of oil fields in Texas.

Upon querying the RRC's H15 database, 1,587 oil fields were identified with an average static fluid level at least 500 feet below the deepest USDW. Further querying by BEG revealed 113 oil fields with sufficient data for AOR variance analysis.


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