Water Disposal Wells

Oil and natural gas producing wells produce salt water from the same deep formation that the oil or gas resource is being extracted from. The natural salt water found in oil and gas reservoirs (formation water) is known as produced water when extracted along with the targeted resource. Also, a portion of the water injected into a well for hydraulic fracturing returns to the surface.

Disposal wells, also known as service wells, return this salt water brine back into deep subsurface formations. These wells are also used for disposal of the flow-back volumes from completions and workovers, including those fluids from slick water fracture stimulations. Fluid from either source can be disposed of in a water disposal well as long as it meets specific criteria of the targeted formation. Companies are required by the Commission to limit the injection and disposal pressure so it doesn’t fracture the formation and to ensure the integrity of the disposal zone. These pressures are determined during the application review process and are based on individual formation properties.

A thorough application review is used to minimize the potential for fluid migration between the injection zone and other zones. The operator must hold the petroleum and natural gas rights in the formation being used for disposal. The composition of the disposed fluid may require that an effluent permit be issued by the Commission on behalf of the Ministry of Environment. As a condition of approval, the Commission requires a Monthly Injection/Disposal Statement be submitted, reporting the volume of fluid disposed and average wellhead pressure.

Salt water disposal approval is granted by the Commission under Section 75 of the Oil and Gas Activities Act.