The State Journal penned an article discussing West Virginia’s strong presence at Shale Insight. The article titled, “W.Va research and projects makes strong showing at Shale Insight” highlights research from WVU graduate students and members of WVU’s associated institutes. One of the aforementioned members, Paul Ziemkiewicz, director of West Virginia Water Research Institute, was featured prominently.
The State Journal wrote, “Paul Ziemkiewicz, director of the West Virginia Water Research Institute, began the day’s activities with a presentation on the work being conducted at WVU’s Marcellus Shale Energy and Environment Laboratory, much of which is done in conjunction with the National Energy Technology Laboratory and Northeast Energy, among others.
“We’re doing a lot of work on instrumenting these wells, and we hope this is useful to the industry in increasing efficiency and production and recovery rates,” he said.
Ziemkiewicz added that there are also environmental components to the work at Marcellus Shale Energy and Environment Laboratory, which is where his institution comes into play, studying the organic and inorganic chemicals associated with well operations and water quality.
“We’re finding the growth and drop-off rates of the different chemistries, and we’re finding that the produced waters have a great deal of salinity, levels off for a few years then starts dropping off fairly rapid in some of the six-year-old or seven-year-old wells,” he explained.
Ziemkiewicz also said that drill cuttings have caused controversy because some have claimed that they become radioactive. However, tests at the Marcellus Shale Energy and Environment Laboratory were conducted with green completion fluids (which reduce emissions) on 18 cutting samples in two wells.
“We found that they’re not radioactive and pass the TCLP (toxicity characteristic leaching procedure) test, so we’re not entirely sure why they keep having to go to a special landfill when they can be used beneficially for other uses that are not considered hazardous.”
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