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60 Million Gallons per day Converted To Steam & Injected
by Tomas DiFiore
Wednesday Apr 3rd, 2013 3:55 PM
Hydraulic Fracturing, Steam Injection, Full Steam Flood Programs - oil and gas extraction already use vast quantities of water in California. Water from the California Aqueduct, turned to steam is injected into the earth. More horizontal wells will expand consumption. See video:

“We pump 1.4 million barrels of water converted to steam into the ground per day." The steam is injected, into the ground for 7 days in a row, then we let it soak for 7 days.” “Oil loosened by steam comes back out....”
That's one small company in one small oil field near Bakersfield.
60 Million Gallons per day Converted To Steam & Injected
Water From California Aqueduct, One Small Company, One Oil Field

Farmer Fred Starrh stars in this interesting short video.
Mixing Oil & Water 4 min

Published on Oct 4, 2012 This AMERICAN LAND
When his almond trees died after he irrigated them with local ground water Fred Starrh sued nearby Aera Energy for polluting the water.

Interesting bits of information on the water use of just one company... one oil field...

Water from the California Aqueduct, turned to steam is injected into the earth.
“We pump 1.4 million barrels of water converted to steam into the ground per day.”
... steam, into the ground for 7 days in a row, then we let it soak for 7 days.” “Oil loosened by steam comes back out....”

A segment of the video is dedicated to the 1000 to 1200 holding ponds in the Southern San Joaquin Valley. Open Pits and 'holding ponds' continue to pollute the landscape as was discussed at the March 21st DOGGR 'workshop' in Sacramento. Quite a bit of discussion, and seems that liners, they don't actually work!

The one piece of good “New” regulation in the current 'Discussion Draft” of Hydraulic Fracturing Regulations for California is that DOGGR is in agreement with SoCal Air Resources Boards and Regional Water Resources Control Boards, many environmental groups, and concerned local community groups;

No liners - No discussion – No pollution

Mixing Oil & Water
The movie itself is significant in that it is one of a PBS series, and production is sponsored by the Environment News Trust 501(c3).

Environment News Trust (ENT) is the 501(c)(3) production company behind THIS AMERICAN LAND. Dedicated to producing high-quality video news reports on environmental issues and events, ENT was founded in 2004 by award-winning veteran television correspondent Gary Strieker, the executive producer of THIS AMERICAN LAND.

Punitive damages phase in groundwater contamination trial;

Bakersfield farmer Fred Starrh originally sued Aera Energy, a joint venture of Exxon Mobil and Shell, in 2001 for trespass, alleging contamination of his farm's groundwater supply by waste water stored in unlined percolation pits. A jury in Kern County Superior Court awarded only $7 million in damages. 

On appeal, Starrh's lawyers argued that the damages should potentially include money saved by Aera by not properly disposing the waste water. The Fifth District Court of Appeal in Fresno ordered a new trial on damages, noting that even if Aera had been forced to pay $1 per barrel instead of 1.5 cents per barrel to dispose of the waste water, Aera would still have had over $1 billion in profits. Aera and several industry associations unsuccessfully petitioned the California Supreme Court to allow the original $7 million award to stand. 

After retrial, the jury found that 96,096,512 barrels of water had crossed from Aera ponds onto the plaintiff's property, and that Aera obtained a benefit from this method of waste water disposal worth $8,559,622.

The third trial, which ended Wednesday March 13, 2013, yielded another letdown for Starrh. Superior Court Judge J. Eric Bradshaw allowed the jury to weigh punitive-damages arguments, but the panel found no basis for them.

Wegis, Starrh's primary attorney, said another appeal to the state court is in the works. If Wednesday's verdict is upheld, the earlier $9 million award would still stand.

Aera maintains the native groundwater was always unusable for irrigation, industrial pollution is after that fact, and mute. Wegis, however, said the area's native groundwater can be used to grow pistachios and almonds, though it may need to be mixed with water from the nearby California Aqueduct.

The pollution occurred at about 300 acres of disposal ponds Aera operated next to 6,000 acres of almond and pistachio orchards owned by Starrh and his family. The unlined ponds were designed to allow toxic water that comes up during oil production to seep slowly underground, eventually reaching underground reservoirs.

Wegis said another appeal to the state court is in the works. If Wednesday's verdict is upheld, the earlier $9 million award would stand. But, Wegis said, a reversal would mean the punitive-damages question will persist.

And the trespass question would also remain alive for juries to ponder. The bottom line, is that if Aera continues, so will the lawsuits. "We're not going to give up as long as Ralph Wegis keeps doing the yeoman's job he's been doing," Starrh said. "We're totally supportive of him."

Aera's legal responsibility for the pollution has already been established in previous court decisions.

Aera became aware in 1999, or perhaps as early as 1989, that this "produced water" was trespassing onto Starrh's property, Wegis said. At issue now is how much money, if any, the company should have to pay Starrh as punishment for its actions.

Beneficial Uses Of Water
Quantities of water pumped underground in oil and gas exploration may have NAFTA rights attached if the license holder is American or has American investors!

As the application and use of oil and gas extraction technologies of *fracking combined with horizontal drilling expand across the California landscape, wastewater disposal and 'water' acquisition are key concerns. The most limiting to production is wastewater disposal.
*High-Volume High-Pressure Horizontal/Deviant Slickwater Hydraulic Fracturing

As most of California's oil fields are in a 'mature' state, Enhanced Oil Recovery such as Steam Injection is throughout the State. As production declines, old and new wells, in fact entire oil fields will be re-worked using full steamflood programs. Extraction techniques at the Oxnard Tar Sands use a combination of Horizontal drilled wells and vertical wells for the Steam Injection which when done for weeks at a time, is called Huff n Puff.

The wastewater disposal wells are injection wells, and are responsible for thousands of earthquakes in midwest and southern States that never have earthquakes. Sub-seismic shifts are earthquakes. Industry already records these on “Tiltmeters”looking in a range between minus 0,3 and 2,7 magnitude..

DOGGR was unaware of the significance or the parameters industry looks for in gaging sub-seismic activity when brought to their attention by Dr. Tom Williams of the Los Angeles Sierra Club, who is probably 'our' resident State expert on oil and gas, drilling, pollution impacts, specifications, law, history, etc... what an intelligent character.

Mini-shocks, sub-seismic shifts, sinkholes, surface expressions, migration of stray gasses, faults and fractures, 3-D subsurface imagery, and industry can still only see what they are looking for, one of which is certainty of investment and profit.

Personally, I think the entire State oil and gas regulations need review and the in field operations some ground truthing.

Where's the money to come from?

Support S. 332, The Climate Protection Act 2013.
The Climate Protection Act Of 2013 - Tension Between Profit and Loss
March 7, 2013

Includes the 2011 'FracAct' Full Disclosure and re-instates the Clean Air Act, The Safe Drinking Water Act, and provides BILLIONS – yes BILLIONS, in job retaining, investments in clean sustainable energy works, national debt pay down, and a new business paradigm for the World's Worst Polluters!

Make the change happen,
Tomas DiFiore

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Enviro Equipment, Inc.
Friday Apr 5th, 2013 11:59 AM
While it's true that hydraulic fracturing uses a lot of water which California is in a position to waste, it's also true that well over 80% of all freshwater in California goes towards farming, especially in more arid sections of Southern California.

However, there aren't new technologies that enable drillers use recycled water in the hydraulic fracturing process which results in savings of 90% in water usage. What's more, there's a Canadian company that claims is using a mixture of chemicals place of water in its drilling methods.

So anybody is against hydraulic fracturing because it uses so much water should understand that water usage is basically a red herring.