Growth in unconventional shale development and associated brine and flowback water disposal has led to increasing demand for brine injection wells in the Northern Appalachian Basin. Addressing this demand requires a systematic geologic and operational framework so that produced fluids can be disposed safely and economically. Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America (RPSEA) is funding research to define the long term prospects for brine disposal in the region and to provide guidance for operators, gas producers, regulators, and public stakeholders. The project involves conducting a source-sink analysis and includes compiling geological and reservoir test data across four states (Eastern Ohio, Western Pennsylvania, Northern West Virginia, and Eastern Kentucky), developing geocellular models from logs and seismic data, and performing reservoir analysis and advanced reservoir simulations. The key injection horizons with long term disposal potential include the sandy and vuggy dolomite zones in Cambrian age formations. Analysis on a variety of logs from more than 100 wells is being compiled and pressure fall-off data from numerous wells is being used to delineate injection potential across the basin. Density cutoffs for the various injection intervals are being evaluated to calculate net pay and porosity statistics by injection interval. In addition, a survey of information sources for produced water disposal activities is being completed, including a literature review on applied research. The research will contribute to the mapping of porosity and permeability fairways crucial for reliable, long-term injection; the evaluation of the potential for fracturing and determination of safe injection pressures; and a compilation of sources of data and research on brine injection wells that is more accessible to stakeholders.

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