An oil company that uses a saltwater disposal well about four miles northwest of Peabody has filed a request with the Kansas Corporation Commission asking to be allowed to increase the daily volume of saltwater disposed there.
Trek AEC LLC, headquartered in Wichita, is asking to be allowed to increase the volume from its current volume of 3,000 barrels to 5,000 barrels per day at 250 pounds per square inch.
Alan DeGood, consultant for Trek, said the company operates about 12 oil wells in the area and is looking to increase oil production.
The Slocumb lease northwest of Peabody has a horizontal well that yields about one barrel of oil from 100 barrels of oil and saltwater pumped out, DeGood said.
“It was necessary to increase our daily rate,” DeGood said.
The company has about six saltwater disposal wells, DeGood said.
DeGood said the company doesn’t use fracking in area wells.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency website, hydraulic fracturing, often called “fracking,” creates fractures in underground rock formations to stimulate the flow of oil. It is done by pumping large amounts of pressurized fluids into the rock formation. The fluid is often a combination of water, particles such as sand or ceramic pellets, and chemicals. After injecting the fluids, internal pressure causes water to flow back into the well bore.
“We do not want to frack any wells in a saltwater zone,” DeGood said.
The increased pressure the company plans to use during water disposal won’t increase pressure in the ground, DeGood said. It will increase the pressure to push water down the tubing of the disposal well.
“Just because we’re going up to 250 pounds doesn’t mean we’re increasing the pressure on the formation,” DeGood said. “What it means is we’re increasing the friction pressure within the tubing.”
Marion County Commissioner Dan Holub said last week he was checking into the situation and making some phone calls to learn more.
“What concerned me more than increasing the amount of water is the pressure,” Holub said.
Holub said talking with local oil drillers eased his mind on the matter. They told him that the pressure Trek wants to use isn’t excessive and that it won’t cause stress to the well itself.
“There’s not a fracking issue, it’s just that they need to pump more,” Holub said.
Trek’s request was discussed in Monday’s county commission meeting.
Holub told County Commissioner Lori Lalouette and County Clerk Tina Spencer that he’d spoken by phone with KCC.
“They did tell me this will not cause compression,” Holub said.
Holub pointed out that in order to file a protest against increasing saltwater flow into the well, the protester must give a valid basis for their objection, not simply that the person does not want it to happen.
Holub also said the matter is not a zoning issue for the county.
“I see no reason for us to take any action,” Holub said.