Friday,
April 18

 
BUSINESS

Hydrogen sulfide leak shuts down part of the shale


Approximately 180 wells in the Eagle Ford Shale were at least partially offline for five weeks while an operator plugged an oil well that appeared to be contaminated with hydrogen sulfide from a nearby injection well.

Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is a poisonous and corrosive component of natural gas – when the H2S concentration is high, it's known as sour gas or acid gas – and a byproduct of natural gas processing. It’s fatal at 1,000 ppm, and can cause serious injury at just 50 ppm. It’s a common ingredient in injection wells, which are used to pump waste deep underground into layers where geologists think it will stay put.

The Railroad Commission said hydrogen sulfide appeared to enter the oil well through corroded cement plugs in the well casing, which passes through the injection well’s disposal level, at approximately 6,500 hundred feet, on its way to the Olmos formation at more than 9,000 feet.

The oil well also passed through the Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer, which is located approximately 1,000 feet above the disposal level, and the Railroad Commission tested six water wells in a 2-mile radius of the site for contamination.


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