The Utah Geological Survey has been awarded more than $1.6 million dollars from the U.S. Department of Energy to study the state’s expanding oil and gas industry. Petroleum Section Chief Thomas Chidsey says one study will examine the disposal of the saline water produced from gas wells in the in the eastern part of Uintah Basin.
"We are going to do a study that looks into the various layers of rocks that may also have potential for disposing of this water so it doesn’t get into any ground water, fresh water or aquifers or other methods. Some of this water might even be warmer, or hot even. And it could be possibly used for geothermal purposes. So we are going to investigate that as well."
The study will track the saline water produced and the best management practices for oil and gas drilling in the state. Chidsey says the project will alleviate some public concerns about drinking water and encourage the industry to continue to find better ways to get rid of the water produced by their gas wells.
"There’s a lot of companies out there that are starting to look at this and all have different ways of approaching it, and their information is essentially confidential as they do it. And what we will do is make all that information that we come up with available to all the companies with the ultimate goal of increasing production, prudently in Utah."