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Waste injection site picking up momentum in the Bakken

October marked the opening of Citadel Energy’s first of nine saltwater disposal facilities planned for North Dakota, and disposal services have been climbing steadily, according to the Forum News Service.

Citadel, a freshwater provider and oilfield waste management company operating in the Bakken, has begun handling the disposal of produced and flowback water at its site dubbed the Pembroke SWD No. 1. The location sits on a 10-acre plot off U.S. Highway 85 in McKenzie County and is allowed to inject up to 15,000 barrels of fluid per day. Kathleen J. Bryan for the Forum News Service reports that last month Citadel Energy Managing Partner Stanton Dodson said the facility has “slowly been ramping up” by injecting a few thousand barrels per day.

Hydraulic fracturing requires millions of gallons of water mixed with chemicals to be pumped underground at high pressure to create fissures in the shale, releasing the trapped hydrocarbons. After the injected water mixture flows back up to the surface, it needs to be disposed of. Additionally, the fracturing process produces saltwater (or brine) as a byproduct, which must also be disposed of throughout the life of a well. These waste products are most commonly disposed of by injecting them back thousands of feet below the earth’s surface.

The Penbroke well was drilled below any water tables at a depth of 6,200 feet, according to the company. The well has been strategically placed near hundreds of oil wells already in production, and Citadel anticipates the well to be fully operational by early 2015. Another objective of the company was to reduce truck traffic. According to the report, Citadel Managing Partner Jud Hill said, “The end goal is to provide a full-service integrated water and waste solids management for our customers – transportation, logistics, treatment and disposal.”

The company is also seeking to place saltwater gathering systems to provide a more reliable disposal method. Additionally, after recognizing that lightning has been plaguing saltwater storage and disposal facilities, the new site will feature extra protection against strikes, further emphasizing the company’s commitment to safe, reliable and efficient operations. Also, the facility will offer a lounge for the truck drivers delivering waste. The facility will include restrooms with showers and televisions as well as complimentary food.

In a blog post from earlier this month, on behalf of the company, Dodson addressed concerns regarding businesses’ outlook in the face of declining oil prices. He wrote, “We have not seen any impact on our volume or pricing, nor do we expect to in the near term … The region is currently not in excess of [salt water disposal] capacity, and we believe production water volumes will continue to increase at a steady pace along with flowback water volumes.”

To read the original report, click here.

In related news, an expert explains link bewteen seisimic activity and fracking, wastewater injection.

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