Groundwater and Petroleum
Publication year: 2023
Number of pages: 375
Released: 18 August 2023
Most nonexperts do not realize that for every barrel of oil produced today in the USA, oil companies also recover approximately ten barrels of produced water that is highly toxic to human health and the environment. Produced water is toxic because of high salinity and high concentrations of inorganic and organic chemicals and isotopes that far exceed the water quality criteria for drinking and irrigation waters. Approximately 60 percent of produced water is currently reinjected into oil production zones for enhanced recovery.
Since 1859, when the first commercial oil well–Drake’s well–was drilled in Pennsylvania, it has proven a great challenge to manage this wastewater without contaminating soil, vegetation, surface water, groundwater, and ecosystems. To address this challenge requires an enhanced knowledge and understanding of the origin and chemical evolution of groundwater and produced water. In response, the authors knit together this extensive body of knowledge for the first time with an extensive literature review and detailed discussion about the relevant processes using examples from sedimentary basins in North America
Case studies of field sites with groundwater contaminated by petroleum operations in active oil fields and legacy sites illustrate these processes and their underlying principles. The authors then lead the reader to examine global warming and its mitigation by carbon capture, utilization, and geological storage (CCUS). In doing so, the authors provide the reader with a clear picture of the connections between water, petroleum, and the environment, and the significance of this connectedness for the health of humanity and ecosystems.
The book is oriented toward graduate students, research geochemists, environmentalists, and regulators interested in understanding the environmental issues and geochemistry of subsurface water in contexts ranging from shallow groundwater to deep oil field brines.