Abandoned Oil and Gas Wells essay

Download this essay in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from essay:

"Individual odor thresholds range from 1 to 13 parts per million. Between 50 and 100 parts per million, it causes mild inflammation on the membrane joining eyeball and eyelid after an hour, loss of smell in two to 15 minutes and can burn the throat" (Lucas, ¶ 4-5). A person can tolerate a maximum concentration of 170 to 330 parts per million for approximately one hour without serious consequences. At 500 parts per million, however, the person loses reasoning and balance and possibly experiences respiratory disturbance. When a person is exposed to 700 to 1,000 parts per million for up to an hour, death may occur within minutes. Emissions In the journal publication, "A Guide to geothermal energy and the environment," Alyssa Kagel, Diana Bates, and Karl Gawell (2007), all of the Geothermal Energy Association, explain that the visible plumes rising from some thermal power plants consists of water vapor emissions (steam), not smoke. Geothermal power plants virtually do not release any air emissions as they do not burn fuel as fossil fuel plants. "A case study of a coal plant updated with scrubbers and other emissions control technologies emits 24 times more carbon dioxide, 10,837 times more sulfur dioxide, and 3,865 times more nitrous oxides per megawatt hour than a geothermal steam plant" (Kagel, Bates & Gawell, p. ii). Table** notes four significant pollutants that geothermal and coal facilities emit.

Table**: Average Geothermal Energy Production, 1990, 2003, and EIA Conversion Information (Energy Information Administration (EIA) cited in Kagel, Bates & Gawell, 2007, p. ii).

Geothermal plants do not directly emit sulfur dioxide, however after hydrogen sulfide is released into the atmosphere as a gas; it ultimately converts into sulfur dioxide and sulfuric acid. Consequently, sulfur dioxide emissions linked to geothermal energy evolved from hydrogen sulfide emissions (Kagel, Bates & Gawell, 2007). Currently, geothermal power plants routinely abate hydrogen sulfide, which results in more than 99.9% of the hydrogen sulfide from geothermal noncondensable gases being converted into elemental sulfur, which may in turn be utilzed as a non-hazardous soil amendment and fertilizer feedstock. "Since 1976, hydrogen sulfide emissions have declined from 1,900 lbs/hr to 200 lbs/hr or less, although geothermal power production has increased from 500 megawatts (MW) to over 2,000 MW" (Kagel, Bates & Gawell, p. ii).

Minerals and Corrisons

Benjamin Valdez, Michael Schorr and Addis Arce (N.d). Institute of Engineering, Area of Chemical Engineering Materials, Minerals and Corrosion Department, Universidad Autonoma de Baja California, report in the journal publication, "The influence of mineral on equipment corrosion in geothermal brines," that industrial minerals, extracted from geothermal brines, significantly contribute to the economy of numerous countries. In countries which own and operate geothermal fields and geothermoelectric plants, these minerals constitute the raw materials "for the chemical, fertilizer, metal, ceramic and building industries" (Valdez, Schorr & Arce, p. 1). Valdez, Schorr and Arce explain:

Corrosion affects the different types of equipment, machinery and structures, made from two basic engineering materials: steel and concrete, used in geothermal plants and installations. Minerals undergo ionic dissociation in the brines, contribute to their salinity, chlorinity, and electrical conductivity; alter their pH and increase their corrosivity. Other corrosive substances are present in the brines such as dissolved gases: Oxygen (02) carbon dioxide~02), ammonia (NH3) and hydrogen sulfide (112S). Some minerals, depending on their chemical nature and solubility, deposit on metallic surfaces as a hard scale and corrosion appears underneath. Corrosion control engineering applies methods and techniques of prevention and protection, avoid the interaction of the equipment and structures with the corrosive constituents of the eotheimal brines.

Valdez, Schorr and Arce (N.d.) purport that geothermal brines contain a high concentration of dissolved; ionized mineral salts mainly chlorides and sulfates, which are aggressive ions in the context of corrosion. Their amount, relative to carbonates and bicarbonates, are of primary importance in any assessment of the corrosion characteristics of the brines.

Table ** depicts the chemical composition of a typical geothermal brine

Table**: Chemical composition of Typical Cerro Prieto geothermal brine (Valdez, Schorr and Arce N.d, p. 1).















Valdez, Schorr and Arce (N.d.) purport that the corrosion dominant factors are salinity and the concentration of dissolved oxygen (DO). Salinity influences the brine electrical conductivity; the chloride (Cl-) ion also affects the oxide layer, penetrating the passive film; it can initiate pitting and crevice corrosion at localized sites. Localized attack results from differences in aeration, concentration, temperature, velocity and pH. It occurs as pits, crevices, cracks, grooves and eroded parts (Valdez, Schorr and Arce N.d, p. 2).

Valdez, Schorr and Arce (N.d.) further note that the industrial equipment, structures and installations of geothermal fields are built of two basic materials: Steel and reinforced concrete, the latter with a surface of low porosity to avoid the penetration of the brine dissolved minerals and future corrosion. Other plastic and modern composite materials, with high corrosion resistance are replacing metallic materials. An abridged list of equipment for geothermal wells and brines is given in table 2 (Valdez, Schorr and Arce N.d, p. 2).

Table ** depicts equipment used in geothermal wells and brines.

Table **: Geothermal Equipment (Valdez, Schorr and Arce N.d, p. 2).


Materials of Construction

Pipes, tubes and ducts

Steel, reinforced concrete

Pumps, vertical and centrifugal

Steel, brass, bronze

Valves, diverse types


Fittings and flanges



Reinforced concrete

Brine canals

Reinforced concrete

Geotextiles, sedimentations ponds

Plastic, rubber

Monitoring and safety instrumentation

Metallic, plastic

Valdez, Schorr and Arce (N.d.) stress that this equipment suffers from different forms of wear: erosion, abrasion, fatigue, disintegration, stress, aging, and particular wet corrosion. Several geothermal power plants in the Imperial Valley, CA use stainless steel, titanium alloy and cement-lined carbon steel tubes to prevent and/or minimize corrosion by acidic components and scaling by silica (Si02) in the casings of their geothermal wells. Silica is utilized as an additive for road pavimentation and roofing tiles materials. Calcite and aragonite scaling are frequently encountered in other countries geothermal well fluids. It is worthwhile to mention in the context of this work, the peculiar corrosion behavior of two salty water bodies: the Salton Sea, CA, and the Dead Sea ( called the Salt Sea in the Bible) Israel and Jordan. They contain an high concentration of mineral salts: 45g/1 and 280 g/l respectively. These massive desert seas, without a natural outlet, located at 60m and 400m below sea level, continually evaporate rising their salinity. As a result of this salt content, DO reach condition of hypoxia: 2 to 4 mg/l in the Salton Sea or anoxia: 0.1 mg/l in the Dead Sea. Therefore, the harvest of the solid Na, K and Mg salts in the evaporation ponds for the production of chemicals, fertilizers and Mg metal in Dead Sea Works plants is carried out by unprotected steel-made barges, pumps and pipelines without any practical corrosion (Valdez, Schorr and Arce N.d, p. 2).

Valdez, Schorr and Arce (N.d.) further explain that corrosion, scaling and fouling phenomena often appear simultaneously in equipment and installations handling geothermal wells and brines. Minerals scales and deposits, associated with brines composition and circulation, have a marked effect on corrosion. They occur in the brines depending on their physicochemical interaction with the equipment surface, the operational conditions such as pH (4 to 8), DO content (4 to 6 mg/l) flow -- regime and temperature (30 to 250 C). The mineral salt concentration affects the corrosion rate of carbon steel (Figure 1). The rate increases to a maximum at the concentration of seawater (3.5%) and then decreases nearing cero at the saturation concentration (25%) because DO content reaches a minimum value near zero (Valdez, Schorr and Arce N.d, p. 3).

Valdez, Schorr and Arce (N.d.) conclude that the cost of the aging infrastructure maintenance and repair are considerable and increasing. A recent NACE report estimated that 20 to 30% of this cost could be saved by application of corrosion control technologies. The principal means of corrosion control in the geothermal industry are correct selection of materials of constructions for equipment and structures, use of special paints, coatings and linings resistant to concentrated brines and cathodic protection by impressed current and/or sacrificial magnesium or aluminum anodes. Today, the main and…[continue]

Cite This Essay:

"Abandoned Oil And Gas Wells" (2009, July 17) Retrieved October 27, 2016, from http://www.paperdue.com/essay/abandoned-oil-and-gas-wells-20522

"Abandoned Oil And Gas Wells" 17 July 2009. Web.27 October. 2016. <http://www.paperdue.com/essay/abandoned-oil-and-gas-wells-20522>

"Abandoned Oil And Gas Wells", 17 July 2009, Accessed.27 October. 2016, http://www.paperdue.com/essay/abandoned-oil-and-gas-wells-20522

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • Oil and Gas Industry in

    A large body of literature has treated many different aspects of these influences on Asia, Europe and the United States (Busser & Sadoi, 2003). The importance of the study relates to the current trends taking place in Libya where aggressive steps have been taken in recent years to normalize relations with the international community. For example, Libya opened up its programs to develop weapons of mass destruction to international

  • Development of Oil and Gas

    Oil and Gas Development of Two Important Materials in Earth's Early History According to scientists, Earth began its life 4.6 billion years ago, when cosmic dust collided to form increasingly large particles. These particles, after millions of years of colliding and increasing in mass, eventually formed the Earth, with a mass similar to what it is today (5.9736 x 1024 kg or 5,973,600,000,000,000,000,000,000 kg) . Soon, the Earth's atmosphere began to form,

  • Future Norwegian Oil and Gas

    It was from this lesson that legislators began to understand the need to put away large percentages of their oil profits and to not depend so much on spending that cash flow. After the recession of the 1980s, Norway drastically re-examined its oil policy from both a fiscal and regulatory perspective. Up into the late 1980s, "foreign oil policy followed what was called a 'purely commercial line.' That is, it

  • Groundwater Pollution Issues How Does America s Groundwater

    Groundwater Pollution Issues How does America's groundwater become polluted and what are the sources of pollution that goes into the groundwater? How important is unpolluted groundwater to the sustainability of communities? Also, what are the solutions for this pollution of the groundwater? These issues and others will be reviewed in this paper. Groundwater Facts According to William M. Alley, writing in the peer-reviewed journal Environment, groundwater exists "…almost everywhere beneath the land surface"

  • Oil Crisis in Nigeria Nigeria

    It was in this backdrop of economic instability that economic nationalism also reared its ugly head. International crooks and foreign multinational companies rushed in and used both legal and illegal methods to gain contracts for supplying all sorts of stuff like stock fish, frozen chicken and meat, cars, and custom-made wine. Outlandish contracts were even given for supplying water and firewood to military barracks and prisons. Foreign governments and

  • Dollar Oil Economy Analyzing the

    John Perkins (2007), likewise, examines how the modern American Empire has affected our economy and our society in his book the Secret History of the American Empire. Perkins reveals nothing new when he contends that the United States makes up "less than 5% of the world's population…[yet] consumes more than 25% of the world's resources" (p. 5). What he does do with this information is use it as a platform

  • BP Oil Spill Gulf BP Oil Spill

    BP Oil Spill Gulf. BP Oil Spill A Detailed Description of the issue 3 The basis of the issue 6 What ethical change, deficiency, or conflict brought it about BP Oil Spill happen Gulf. "BP is in the business of finding oil, refining it, and selling the gas (and propane, etc.) that results. In the course of doing business, BP interacts with a huge range of individuals and organizations, and those interactions bring with them ethical

Read Full Essay
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved