USGS

Environmental Impacts of Petroleum Production: Initial Results from the Osage-Skiatook Petroleum Environmental Research Sites, Osage County, Oklahoma

Water-Resources Investigations Report 03-4260

 

Yousif K. Kharaka,James K. Otton, Editors

 

Prepared in cooperation with the

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Department of Energy National Petroleum Technology Office.


Complete accessible text of report (7 MB PDF)

To view PDF documents, you must have the Adobe Acrobat Reader (free from Adobe Systems) installed on your computer. (download free copy of Acrobat Reader).

Abstract

Exploration for and production of petroleum have caused major detrimental impacts to soils, surface and ground waters, and the local ecosystems in the United States. These impacts arise primarily from the improper disposal of large volumes of saline water produced with oil and gas, from accidental hydrocarbon and produced water releases, and from abandoned oil wells that were not correctly sealed. It is important to understand the long-term and short-term effects of produced water and hydrocarbon releases from these sites in order to develop risk-based remediation plans. Remediation is particularly needed in aging and depleted fields where land use is changing from petroleum production to residential, agricultural or recreational uses.

About 20 scientists from the USGS and other governmental agencies and academia are involved in a multidisciplinary investigation to study the transport, fate, and natural attenuation of inorganic salts, trace metals, organic compounds and radionuclides present in produced water, and their impacts at the Osage-Skiatook Petroleum Environmental Research (OSPER) "A" and "B" sites, located on the Osage Reservation in Osage County, Oklahoma. Stakeholders in the project include the Osage Nation, which holds the mineral rights, the Bureau of Indian Affairs with trust responsibility, and the Army Corps of Engineers, which owns the surface rights at these sites and manages adjacent Skiatook Lake. The 4250-hectare Skiatook Lake provides drinking water to local Tulsa suburban communities and a rural water district, and offers recreational fishing and boating opportunities to tens of thousands of visitors each year.

Approximately 1.5 and 1.0 hectare of land at the OSPER "A" (depleted Lester lease) and "B" (active Branstetter lease) sites, respectively, are affected by salt scarring, tree kills, soil salinization and brine and petroleum contamination due to the leakage of produced water and associated hydrocarbons from brine pits and accidental releases from active and inactive pipes and tank batteries. The leases are typical of many depleted and aging petroleum fields in Osage County, which ranks among the top oil and gas producing counties in Oklahoma with about 39,000 wells. Oil and gas production has occurred in Osage county for over one hundred years, but current production is mainly from stripper wells (averaging ~2.8 bbl/d oil and >30 bbl/d brine) that are shallow, mostly 300-700 m in depth, and produce from several sandstones of Pennsylvanian age.

Results to date show that the produced water source is a Na-Ca-Cl brine (~150,000 mg/L total dissolved solids), with relatively high concentrations of Mg, Sr, and NH4, but low SO4 and H2S. With the exception of Fe and Mn, the concentrations of trace metals are low. Results also show that some and, eventually, the bulk, of inorganic salts and some dissolved organic species in the released brine from both sites will reach Skiatook Lake.

Results at the "A" site show that the salts have essentially been removed from the sandy soil which formed in a surficial layer of eolian sand, but degraded and weathered oil persists on the surface of old oil and brine pits, close to sites of old tanks, on old channels that carried oil from tanks to the oil pits and other impacted areas. Results also show a plume of high salinity water (5,000-30,600 mg/L TDS) is present at intermediate depths that extend from below the old oil and brine pits to Skiatook Lake. No liquid petroleum was found in the contaminated groundwater, but soluble petroleum byproducts, including organic acid anions and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are present. Results to date clearly show that significant amounts of salts from produced-water releases and petroleum hydrocarbons still remain in the soils and rocks of the impacted area after more than 60 years of natural attenuation. At the "B" site significant amounts of produced water from the two active brine pits percolate into the surficial rocks and flow towards the Skiatook Reservoir; but only minor amounts of liquid petroleum leave the brine pits and reach the Skiatook Reservoir. At both sites, results show that the chemical composition of released brines is modified further by sorption, mineral precipitation/dissolution, transpiration, volatilization and bacterially mediated oxidation/reduction reactions.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction and Summary

By Yousif K. Kharaka and James K. Otton

Abstract

Introduction

OSPER "A" and "B"

Sites

Scientific Approach

Initial Summary Results

Future Plans

Acknowledgements

References

 

Produced Water and Hydrocarbon Releases at the Osage-Skiatook Petroleum Environmental Research Sites, Osage County, Oklahoma: Introduction and Geologic Setting

By James K. Otton and Robert A. Zielinski

Abstract

Introduction

"A" Research Site

Lease History

Geology of the "A" Site

Hydrology

"B" Research Site

Lease History

Geology of the "B" Site

Conclusions

References

 

Preliminary Geophysical Characterization of Two Oil Production Sites, Osage County, Oklahoma – Osage-Skiatook Petroleum Environmental Research Project

By Bruce D. Smith, Robert J. Bisdorf, Robert J. Horton, James K. Otton, and Ray S. Hutton

Abstract

Introduction

Methods

Geophysical Surveys at Site A

DC Resistivity Soundings

EM31 Survey

Geophysical Surveys at Site B

DC Resistivity Survey

EM31 Survey

Conclusions

References

 

Petroleum Environmental Research Sites, Osage County, Oklahoma
By Yousif K. Kharaka, James J. Thordsen, Evangelos Kakouros, and Marvin M. Abbott

Abstract

Introduction

OSPER Sites

Methods and Procedures

Laboratory Measurements

Results and Discussion

OSPER “A” Site

OSPER “B” Site

Summary and Conclusions

Acknowledgements

References

 

The Fate of Petroleum and Other Organics Associated with Produced Water from the Osage-Skiatook Petroleum Environmental Research Sites, Osage County, Oklahoma

By E. Michael Godsy, Frances D. Hostettler, Ean Warren, V. Vincenzo Paganelli, and Yousif K. Kharaka

Abstract

Introduction

Materials and Methods

Microbial Number Determinations

Core Sample Collection

Water Sample Collection and Analysis

Production Oil Sample Collection

Results and Discussion

Microbial Populations

Aerobes

Facultative Aerobes

Obligate Anaerobes (Respiratory)

Obligate Anaerobes (Fermentative)

Site A Microbially Important Geochemistry

Site A Microbial Populations

Study Area Production Oils

Characterization of Site A Oils

Site B Microbially Important Geochemistry

Site B Microbial Populations

Characterization of Site B Oils

Conclusions

References

 

Impact of Oil Production Releases on Some Soil Chemical Properties at the OSPER Sites

By Don H. Kampbell, Youn-Joo An, Matthew W. Smith, and Marvin M. Abbott

Abstract

Introduction

Experimental Methods

Results and Discussion

References

Hydrologic Controls on the Subsurface Transport of Oil-field Brine at the Osage-Skiatook Petroleum Environmental Research "B" Site, Oklahoma

By William N. Herkelrath and Yousif K. Kharaka

Abstract

Introduction

Field Site Description

Hydrology and Solute Transport in the Waste Pit Area

The Brine Source in the Waste Pit

Ground-Water Flow from the Waste Pit to the Lake

Water Flow in the Unsaturated Zone

Solute Transport

Preliminary Modeling Results

Discussion

Summary and Conclusions

References

 

Use of Soil Extracts to Define the Extent of Brine-impacted Soils and Bedrock at the Osage-Skiatook Petroleum Environmental Research “B” Site, Northeastern Oklahoma

By Robert A. Zielinski, Cynthia A. Rice, and James K. Otton

Abstract

Introduction

Site Description

Methods

Results and Discussion

Additional Considerations

Conclusions

References

 

Characterization of Soils at an Active Oil Production Site: Effects of Brine and Hydrocarbon Contamination

By Cynthia A. Rice, James D. Cathcart, Robert A. Zielinski, and James K. Otton

Abstract

Introduction

Methods

Results and Discussion

Summary

References

 

Real-time Kinematic (RTK) Surveying at the Osage-Skiatook Petroleum Environmental Research Sites, Osage County, Oklahoma

By Marvin M. Abbott

Abstract

Introduction

Global Positioning System

Equipment Requirements and Methods

Accuracy of the RTK GPS Technology

Summary

References


For additional information write to:

 

 

Yousif K. Kharaka

U.S. Geological Survey
Mail Stop 427

345 Middlefield Road

Menlo Park, California 94025, USA

 

Mail to: ykharaka@usgs.gov

 

More current information about the OSPER "A" and "B" sites is available at:

http://ok.water.usgs.gov/skiatook/

 

Copies of this report can be purchased from:

 

U.S. Geological Survey

Branch of Information Services

Box 25286, MS 517

Federal Center

Denver, CO 80225

 

You may also connect to the Oklahoma Home Page at:

http://ok.water.usgs.gov/



U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Persistent URL: http://pubs.water.usgs.gov/wri034260
Page Contact Information: GS Pubs Web Contact
Last modified: Thursday, September 01 2005, 02:23:14 PM
FirstGov button  Take Pride in America button