By Ted Auch, PhD – OH Program Coordinator
Ohio is currently home to 242 of what Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) calls “Active” Class II Injection wells capable of accepting hydraulic fracturing waste1. This is not an accurate reflection of the state’s entire Class II Injection well inventory, which includes 129 Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR), 82 Annular Disposal (AD), 221 Salt Water Disposal (SWD), 1,987 Temporarily Abandoned Annular Disposal (TAAD), and 57 Salt Mining (SM) wells. These have all been chronicled in our Shale Gas Waste Disposal Network Map (see below).
The state’s “Active” stock of Class II wells averages 4,434 ± 2,032 feet in total depth with a range of 871 to 13,727 feet and 793,734 linear feet (Figure 1). The two deepest wells are CNX Gas Company’s 10,490 foot well in Warren Township and David R Hill’s 13,727 foot well in Pease Township, both of which are in Belmont County. The state’s 22 ≥7,000 foot wells are spread throughout the state’s eastern quarter2, however, in Washington (5), Summit (1), Stark (2), Portage (1), Mahoning (3), Guernsey (2), Coshocton (1), Carroll (2), Belmont (2), and Ashtabula (3). Meanwhile the state’s shallow Class IIs are predominantly in Tuscarawas (4) and Morgan (3) Counties (Figure 1)3. The state’s deepest Class II interval is home to very few “Active” wells and likewise is devoid of related – but not currently fracking-related injection wells – Class IIs. The state’s primary Class II counties are Morgan, Perry, and Hocking, with 610 of the state’s 1,988 Temporarily Abandoned Annular Disposal (TAAD) Class IIs at a depth of 2,870-4,000 feet. These “Other” Class IIs are the very wells many Ohioans are worried will be called into service for the disposal of fracking waste as unconventional drilling expands in OH, WV, PA, and potentially NY. Additionally, there are early signs of interest in horizontal drilling in Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, and Michigan. With this growing interest comes concomitant concerns about disposal in those states, with specific foci on Michigan’s Class IIs in its most sensitive aquifers and natural areas and Illinois’ relatively strict drilling regulations.
Class II Geology
Utilizing data generously provided to us by ODNR’s UIC Section analyst Jennifer Gingras, we were able to take a closer look at OH’s current fracking waste story (Figure 2). Most of the “Active” wells lie within primary shale and secondary siltstone geologies, with secondary formations of importance being sandstones and black shales (Figure 3). Silstone, shale, and black shale are the primary geologies (>50% of the formation) underlying 202 of the state’s “Active” Class IIs; whereas the secondary geology (<50% of the formation) of nearly all (228) “Active” wells is either shale or siltstone.
Class II Volumes 2010-2013
From a volume-injected perspective, 1.480 and 1.813 million barrels of waste fluids were received in and out of district, respectively, with averages of 3,096 and 3,793 barrels per well for a total of 3.29 million barrels year-to-date. The highest volumes received were in the Myers Well in Edinburg Township, Portage County well (received 71,116 “In Sector” barrels) and from “Out of Sector” in the Long Run Disposal Well (SWIW #*) in Newport Township, Washington County (received 208,845 barrels) (Figure 4). These two wells injected the most total drilling waste, followed by Ohio Oil Gathering Corp’s Newport Township, Washington County well and Warren Drilling Corp’s (SWIW #6) Jackson Township, Noble County well (Figure 1).
|Figure 4. Ohio’s Active Class II Injection Wells that accepted hydraulic fracturing related
brine wastes from “In Sector” (Left Plate, 145 Wells) and “Out of Sector (Right Plate, 58 Wells) based locations.
Between 2010 and 2013-Q2, OH’s Class II Injection wells have received 35.058 million barrels, 46.6% from “In Sector” and 53.4% from “Out Of Sector”, with per well averages of 68.4 and 78.3K, respectively. The highest volume quarters to date were Q3 and Q4 of 2012, which boasted a total volume of 7.79 million barrels (59% “In Sector” Vs 41% “Out Of Sector”).
OH’s Fab Four Class II Counties
|County||No. “Active” Class II Injection Wells||Yearly Processed Waste (barrels)||Per-Well Average (barrels)|
Combined, 34 of these 57 wells received 27% of the state’s total fracking brine waste.
Our “Shale Gas Waste Disposal Network Map” has been updated to include Q3 2010 to Q2 2913 Class II disposal rates and revenue on a quarterly basis.
The Ohio Class II Crystal Ball
Using a simple statistical technique called linear regression we can do a decent job of projecting future trends in Ohio’s Class II volume story (Figure 5). Using this technique we see that the average amount of waste injected by the state’s Class II wells increases by 147,202 barrels or 4.64 million gallons per quarter. Most of this trajectory is due to “Out Of Sector” fracking waste, explaining 45% of the 67% quarter-to-quarter change attributed to the simple relationship between fiscal quarter and barrels received.
The amount of Class II Injection well waste received here in Ohio will likely double by the first half of 2015 at 68.379-71.711 million gallons and tripled by Q2-Q3 of 2018 (105.031-108.363 million barrels).
 Two of these wells are missing Latitude-Longitudes according to a search of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Risk Based Data Management System (RBDMS) database. Additionally, fifty-one of these “Active” wells had yet to receive fracturing waste at the end of 2013-Q1.
 Much of the state’s western half is underlain by Karst topography which is susceptible to subsurface erosion due to the fragility of the limestone geology.
 Neighboring West Virginia is home to sixty-two Class II Injection Wells, Pennsylvania 805 “Active” Class IIs, Virginia 8 “Active” Class IIs, and Kentucky 82 Class IIs (US Class II Injection Well soon to arrive on FracTracker).