Presentation on theme: "Rulison and Rio Blanco Sites U.S. Department of Energy Office of Legacy Management Northwest Colorado Oil and Gas Forum September 4, 2008."— Presentation transcript:
Rulison and Rio Blanco Sites U.S. Department of Energy Office of Legacy Management Northwest Colorado Oil and Gas Forum September 4, 2008
2 Introductions DOE Office of Legacy Management Jack Craig, Project Manager S.M. Stoller Corporation Rick Hutton, Project Manager Judy Miller, Public Affairs
3 Purpose To provide an overview of DOE project activities and subsurface interests at the Rulison and Rio Blanco sites
4 Nevada Offsites Underground nuclear testing was conducted in Alaska, Colorado, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Nevada.
5 Plowshare ProgramColorado Underground nuclear detonations in Colorado supported the Plowshare Program and were conducted to investigate the feasibility of using nuclear explosives to stimulate production in low-permeability gas fields. Rulison –September 10, 1969 –Yield: 40 kilotons –Depth: 8,425 feet below ground surface Rio Blanco –May 17, 1973 –Yield: Three simultaneous, 33-kiloton explosions –Depths: 5,838; 6,230; and 6,689 feet below ground surface
6 Concern Contamination from the subsurface nuclear tests could potentially migrate into nearby gas production wells.
8 Rulison Test Location: Lot 11, NE quarter of SW quarter of Section 25, T7S, R95W Latitude 39.4052923 N, Longitude 107.94845 E Depth: 8,425 feet below ground surface Cavity radius: 76.1 feet Horizontal fracture radius: approximately 210 feet
10 Rulison Institutional Control Site of the second nuclear gas stimulation experiment in the United States. One 43 kiloton nuclear explosive was detonated in this well, 8,326 feet below the surface on September 10, 1969. No excavation, drilling, and/or removal of subsurface materials below a depth of 6,000 feet is permitted in Lot 11, NE ¼ SW ¼, of section 25, Township 7 South, Range 95 West, 6th Principal Meridian, Garfield County, Colorado, without U.S. Government permission. U.S. Energy Research and Development Administration September 1976
11 Rulison COGCC Notification Zone and Hearing Boundary In 1997, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) established a three-mile radius around surface ground zero, based on the fact that no existing gas well was closer than three miles. As part of this informal policy, DOE receives notification when COGCC receives an Application for Permit to Drill (APD) within three miles of surface ground zero. In 2004, COGCC formally established a half-mile radius, with the provision that any APD for a well within a half-mile of the surface ground zero would require a full COGCC hearing prior to issuance.
12 No intrusion below 6,000 ft without U.S. government permission Rulison DOE Drilling Exclusion Boundary and COGCC Hearing Boundary
13 Rio Blanco Test Location: NW quarter of NW quarter of Section 14, T3S, R98W Latitude 39.79327268 N, Longitude 108.366455 E Depths: 5,838; 6,230; and 6,689 feet below ground surface Cavity radius: 69 feet each Horizontal fracture radius: approximately 207 feet
15 Rio Blanco Institutional Control Site of the third nuclear gas stimulation experiment in the United States of America. Three 30 kiloton nuclear explosives were detonated in this well at 5,838 feet, 6,230 feet, and 6,689 feet below the surface on May 17, 1973. No excavation, drilling, and/or removal of subsurface materials to a true vertical depth of 1,500 feet is permitted within a radius of 100 feet of this surface location, nor any similar excavation, drilling, and/or removal of subsurface materials between the true vertical depths of 1,500 feet and 7,500 feet is permitted within a 600 foot radius of this surface location in the NW quarter, section 14, Township 3 South, Range 98 West, 6th Principal Meridian, Rio Blanco County, Colorado, without U.S. Government permission. U.S. Energy Research and Development Administration September 1976
17 Summary Two underground nuclear tests were conducted in Colorado to stimulate gas production. No technically feasible way to remove radioactive contamination in nuclear cavities. Potential for contaminants to migrate to gas-producing channels if drilling or hydraulic fracturing penetrates contaminant zone surrounding the nuclear cavities. DOE will continue to maintain boundaries that protect human health and the environment.
18 Additional Information Office of Legacy Management website: http://www.LM.doe.gov Rulison site webpage: http://www.LM.doe.gov/land/sites/co/rulison/rulison.htm Rio Blanco site webpage: http://www.LM.doe.gov/land/sites/co/rio/rio.htm Public Reading Rooms: Parachute Branch Library 244 Grand Valley Way Parachute, CO 81635-9607 (970) 285-9870 U.S. Department of Energy Office of Legacy Management 2597 B ¾ Road Grand Junction, CO 81503 (970) 248-6089