by Jessica J. Castleton, Ben A. Erickson, and Emily J. Kleber
The Moab quadrangle is located in the south-central portion of Grand County, Utah. Currently, the area is experiencing rapid development and population growth, that is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. As urbanization expands into areas less suited for development, geologic hazards become of increasing concern in the planning, design, and construction of new facilities and infrastructure. This geologic-hazard investigation of the Moab quadrangle incorporates available geologic, hydrologic, soil, and geotechnical information to identify where geologic hazards may exist, and where detailed, site-specific, geotechnical/geologic-hazard investigations are necessary to protect health, welfare, and safety. This study provides maps and information for 13 geologic hazards: shallow groundwater, salt tectonics-related ground deformation, flooding, landsliding, rockfall, radon gas potential, collapsible soil, expansive soil and rock, corrosive soil and rock, soluble soil and rock, piping and erosion, wind-blown sand, and shallow bedrock. The maps are an aid for general planning to indicate where site-specific geotechnical/geologic-hazard investigations are necessary. The accompanying report describes the hazards and provides background information on data sources and the nature and distribution of hazards and potential mitigation measures.
Utah Mining 2016
by Taylor Boden, Ken Krahulec, Michael Vanden Berg, and Andrew Rupke
This report summarizes 2016 energy and mineral resource production statistics and values for Utah. Discussions cover energy resources including oil, natural gas, coal, and uranium, and nonfuel mineral resources including base and precious metals as well as industrial minerals. The report also updates exploration projects and development of new resources.
Bulletin 138, Produced Water in the Uinta Basin, Utah: Evaluation of Reservoirs, Water Storage Aquifers, and Management Options
Salt Lake City (Nov. 29, 2017) — Oil and gas fields in the Uinta Basin of eastern Utah typically produce about 30 million barrels of oil and 325 billion cubic feet of natural gas annually. The hydrocarbon production also generates over 100 million barrels of saline non-potable water which requires disposal. A new Utah Geological Survey report addresses how to deal with this water.
Extensive drilling for gas in “tight” sandstones in the eastern part of the basin generates a need for water disposal, while in the central basin expanding enhanced oil recovery (EOR) programs, called waterflooding, creates a need for water. Although drilling activity is currently low in Utah, and elsewhere, due to depressed oil and gas prices, existing fields continue to produce. As wells mature, water production increases while oil and gas production decreases. In addition, oil and gas prices change depending on the economics of global market supply and demand. History has shown that these prices always rebound. The environmentally sound disposal of produced water affects the economics of the hydrocarbon resource development in the basin. Specific Uinta Basin water issues include water use/reuse for well drilling and completion (e.g., hydraulic fracturing), appropriate sites for disposal/reuse of water, development of systems to manage the produced water streams, and differing challenges for gas versus oil producers.
This new study by the Utah Geological Survey (UGS) covers the geology, chemistry, and best practices related to saline water production in the Uinta Basin. Specifically, it includes (1) descriptions and maps of Uinta Basin reservoirs and aquifers, (2) statistical trends of the basin’s water quality, (3) overviews of produced-water facilities, and (4) recommendations for the best management practices and options to deal with the produced water. Appendices provide complete data compilations either collected or generated as part of this study. The report provides a framework to address the divergent water uses and disposal interests of various stakeholders and will help industry, particularly small producers, and regulators make optimum management decisions. The report also offers sound scientific information to allay public concerns about the potential for drinking-water contamination from hydraulic fracturing and production operations.
The 279-page Utah Geological Survey Bulletin 138, Produced Water in the Uinta Basin, Utah: Evaluation of Reservoirs, Water Storage Aquifers, and Management Options, is available (PDF) for free download from the UGS website at geology.utah.gov. Print-on-demand copies are available for purchase from the Utah Department of Natural Resources Map and Bookstore, 1-888-UTAHMAP, www.mapstore.utah.gov.
This research was funded by the Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America (RPSEA) through the “Small Producers Program,” authorized by the U.S. Energy Policy Act of 2005, and the National Energy Technology Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy, with additional support from the UGS. The UGS also collaborated extensively with sister regulatory agencies within the Utah Department of Natural Resources (Division of Oil, Gas and Mining, Division of Water Rights, Division of Water Resources) and other agencies such as the Utah Division of Environmental Quality, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as well as tribal authorities in the Uinta Basin. Participating industry partners were Anadarko Petroleum Corp., EOG Resources, Inc., QEP Resources, Inc., Wind River Resources, and Newfield Exploration.
The Utah Geological Survey, a division of the Utah Department of Natural Resources, provides timely scientific information about Utah’s geologic environment, resources, and hazards.
Landslide Inventory Map of the Ferron Creek area, Sanpete and Emery Counties, Utah
By: Richard E. Giraud and Greg N. McDonald
This map presents a landslide inventory for the Ferron Creek area, Sanpete and Emery Counties, Utah, at a scale of 1:24,000. The purposes of the map and accompanying geodatabase are to show and characterize landslides areas and to provide information useful for managing landslide-related issues. Spatial and tabular data for each landslide are stored in the geodatabase and linked to the inventory map. Landslide information in the geodatabase includes: area, material type, movement type, landslide deposit name, landslide source name, movement activity, thickness, movement direction, approximate movement dates, geologic unit associated with landsliding, confidence in mapped boundaries, mapper, peer reviewer, and general comments.
The Gothic Shale of the Pennsylvanian Paradox Formation, Greater Aneth Field (Aneth Unit), Southeastern Utah: Seal for Hydrocarbons and Carbon Dioxide
By: Jason E. Heath, Thomas A. Dewers, Thomas C. Chidsey, Jr., Stephanie M. Carney, and S. Robert Bereskin
Greater Aneth oil field, Utah’s largest oil producer, has produced over 483 million barrels of oil. Located in the Paradox Basin of southeastern Utah, Greater Aneth is a stratigraphic trap producing from the Pennsylvanian Paradox Formation. Because Greater Aneth is a mature, major oil field in the western U.S., and has a large carbonate reservoir, it was selected to demonstrate combined enhanced oil recovery and carbon dioxide (CO2) storage. The Gothic shale seals the underlying Desert Creek oil reservoir, both in the Paradox Formation. Within the Aneth Unit in the northwestern part of the field, the Gothic is remarkably uniform, consisting of 7 to 26 feet (2–8 m) of black to gray, laminated to thin-bedded, dolomitic marine shale.
This 31-page Miscellaneous Publication is a detailed evaluation of the Gothic seal in the Aneth Unit and its effectiveness at supporting large CO2 and hydrocarbon columns in the Desert Creek reservoir below. This study includes geochemical, petrological, petrophysical, and geomechanical analyses that determined (1) the geologic controls on sealing effeciency, (2) effects of pressure changes on the seal due to CO2 injection and storage, and (3) possible chemical interaction between CO2 and the seal at its contact with the reservoir through time.