USGS - science for a changing world

Environmental Health - Toxic Substances


Environmental impacts of petroleum production: 1- The fate of inorganic and organic chemicals in produced water from the Osage-Skiatook Petroleum Environmental Research B site, Osage County, OK

Yousif K. Kharaka
Evangelos Kakouros
Marvin M. Abbott*
U. S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, CA 94025
*U. S. Geological Survey, Oklahoma City, OK 73116

Presented at the 9th International Petroleum Environmental Conference
Special Session: Fate And Transport Of Brine And Hydrocarbon
Releases In Soils and Water, Northeast Oklahoma
Albuquerque, New Mexico, October 22-25, 2002

Full Text of the Paper (pdf file 1.54 MB)


About 15 scientists from the U. S. Geological Survey, other Federal agencies and academia are involved in a multidisciplinary investigation to study the transport, fate, and natural attenuation of inorganic salts, trace metals, radionuclides and organic compounds present in produced water, and their impacts on soil, surface and ground water and the local ecosystem at the Osage-Skiatook Petroleum Environmental Research (OSPER) A and B sites, located in Osage County, OK. The Branstetter lease, OSPER B site, is typical of many aging petroleum fields in Osage County, which ranks among the top oil and gas producing counties in Oklahoma with close to 40,000 wells. Current production in Osage County is mainly from stripper wells (averaging ~2.8 bbls/d oil and >30 bbls/d brine) that are shallow, mostly 300-700 m in depth, and produce from several sandstones of Pennsylvanian age. About one hectare of land at the OSPER B site is affected by salt scarring, soil salinization and brine and petroleum contamination due to the leakage of produced water and associated hydrocarbons from two brine pits and due to accidental releases from active tank batteries. Eventually, the bulk of inorganic salts and some dissolved organic species in the released brine reach, directly or via the two local streams, the adjacent Skiatook Lake, a 4250-hectare reservoir that provides drinking water to the local communities and is a major recreational fishery.

About 40 water samples were obtained from several oil wells at the B site and adjoining areas, the two brine pits, several brine pools and seeps in the impacted area, local streams, Skiatook Lake, and from about 20 boreholes (1-71 m deep), recently drilled and completed with slotted PVC tubing. Water level monitoring and additional sampling is continuing. Results to date show that the produced water is a high-salinity (~150,000 mg/L total dissolved solids) Na-Ca-Cl brine, with relatively high concentrations of Sr, Mg and NH4, but low amounts of SO4 and H2S. With the exception of Fe and Mn, the concentrations of trace metals are low, and the values of dissolved organics are relatively low. As the brine flows from the brine pits through the shallow eolian sand, colluvial and alluvial deposits to the streams and Skiatook Lake, it is diluted by infiltrating water from precipitation. Its chemical composition is modified by sorption, mineral precipitation/dissolution, transpiration, volatilization and oxidation/reduction reactions. Bacteria likely play an important role in many of these reactions.

Back to IPEC Session Proceedings Index

USGS Home Water Land Resources Science Systems Ecosystems Energy and Minerals Environmental Health Hazards

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information:
Page Last Modified: Tuesday, 04-Aug-2015 15:15:53 EDT