According to much of the news currently emanating from the Bakken Shale Play, the Bulls appear to have the upper hand over the Bears on oil production expectations. In the wake of the “up-side” of this good economic news is the “down-side” expected by a significant number of individuals concerned about the negative environmental impact of the hustle and bustle of exploration and production; or E & P as it is referred to in the oil industry. Although the construction and installation of production wells and associated manifold collection systems for oil and gas have their own set of concerns, releases from subsequent production and transmission of products more often raise the dander of non-oil workers and so-called casual observers. I know of no oil field employee who enjoys picking up the phone to inform the regulators of a release.

There are of course, neat product releases as well as co-contaminant spills where in addition to hydrocarbons, brine is often a not so subtle component. Brine is often the most difficult to treat and the slowest to clean up. Across the continent, production fields are pockmarked with untreated brine scars, and where they are attended to under current regulations, the method is often a “shoot-from-the-hip,” “knee-jerk,” “dig-n-dump,” excavation that leaves the “remediated” site devoid of both vegetation and coveted topsoil. The method appears to be a cheap, effective remedy but is too often simply “window-dressing” leaving time to assume the role of the Grim Reaper with erosion as his favorite tool.

Primary Author/Conference Presenter:
William Lundy
Sr. VP
DeepEarth Technologies, Inc.
Tinley Park, Illinois