The legacy of oil and gas development will continue into the foreseeable future. Concerns involving legacy infrastructure and environmental risks have coalesced around the handling of produced water as part of ongoing, non-conventional operations. The greatest risks to water resources derive from legacy wells, handling and management of produced water prior to disposal, and disposal well construction and operation.
Facilities that handle produced water are highly engineered systems, designed with multiple redundancies. Despite redundant systems designs and significant permitting review, risks to water resources are posed by the handling, management, and disposal of produced water. A probabilistic risk analysis framework is presented and used to evaluate impacts to water resources from handling, management, and disposal of produced water. Event trees are employed to represent redundant system design. Three principle outcomes are obtained from the study: 1) compilation of data provides a clear record of activities which pose risks to the environment and allows for risk quantification; 2) quantification of likelihood of impacts to water resources from mechanical, operational, and permitting analysis failures; and 3) generation of a risk management framework to guide existing and future handling of produced water.
Primary Author / Conference Presenter:
Southwest Research Institute
San Antonio, Texas, USA
Ron Green, Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX
Beth Fratesi, Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX