Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry
July 2017

Vol. 22, No. 27 Week of July 02, 2017

EPA proposes injection permit renewals

Petroleum News

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said June 28 that it proposes to issue three underground injection control class I permits for disposal of non-hazardous fluids at Badami, Oooguruk and Prudhoe Bay. All are renewals of exiting permits.

Applicants are Savant Alaska LLC, a subsidiary of Glacier Oil & Gas Corp., Caelus Natural Resources Alaska LLC and BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc.

EPA has responsibility in Alaska for regulation of class I injection wells, which dispose of fluids into deep, naturally saline aquifers below any aquifers which could serve as current or future underground sources of drinking water, USDW, the agency said. Wastes which may be injected include treated domestic wastewater, drilling muds and cuttings, well workover fluids, melt and storm water, a small amount of facility water and produced water, and other exempt and non-exempt non-hazardous fluids.

The Savant permit is for injection of class I fluids at the Badami unit on the North Slope, an authorization which has existed since 1997. The draft permit allows for the use of up to two injection wells. EPA said Savant currently uses one well at the location to inject waste into geologic formations more than 7,000 feet below ground surface. EPA said it has previously determined that the aquifers do not meet criteria for USDW due to high natural salinity - greater than 10,000 milligrams per liter total dissolved solids.

The Caelus application is for permit reissuance at the Oooguruk drill site, a gravel island near the mouth of the Colville River, originally permitted in 2007. The draft permit would allow for use of up to two injection wells to inject fluids to a depth near 5,000 feet below ground surface to aquifers which EPA said it has previously determined do not meet USDW standards due to high natural salinity.

The BP permit is for the Prudhoe Bay unit grind and inject project, which has been authorized for class I injection since 2007. EPA said the wells were authorized as class II wells for disposal of oil production wastes from 1998 to 2007 and are integral to disposal of drilling waste reserve pits across the North Slope. The draft permit would allow the use of up to four injection wells to inject fluids to a depth of near 6,500 feet below ground surface; BP is currently using three wells. EPA said it has determined that the aquifers affected to not meet requirements of USDW due to natural salinity.

EPA is taking comments on the proposed issuance of the permits from June 30 through July 31, and will hold a public hearing July 20 if it receives specific written requests by July 14.

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