One downside of prolific oil and gas production is the often associated increase in produced water volumes. As hydrocarbon prices and production increase, so do water production and the need for efficient water disposal. This need plus increasing regulatory scrutiny and operators’ environmental stewardship goals have compelled the search for economic methods of safely maximizing - and maintaining - disposal well efficiency.

This paper will relate case histories of several salt-water disposal wells in northwestern Louisiana, in which the conventional remediation solution, matrix acid treatments, did not effectively remove near-wellbore damage. Instead, precision bypass fracs were designed to maximize injectivity without fracturing rock beyond the narrow zonal limits set by state regulators. The strict regulations required a precise, scientific approach to stimulation design and operations, including the use of fracture modeling, on-site diagnostics and radioactive tracers.

The paper will present regulatory issues, stimulation design process, operational highlights and post-stimulation results for some representative disposal wells. It will also describe improvements made at producing well locations to minimize future stimulation requirements. Finally, it will conclude with some recommended best practices for economical, safe, effective bypass frac design and operations in water disposal wells.

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