SkyTruth – How Do We Help (Part 2)?

All too often, public notice of a proposed well or other industrial facility — particularly those related to oil and gas drilling — gives the location in legal terms that are meaningless to the average citizen. Where, exactly, is the thing going to be drilled or built? We just got another great example of this: a proposed well to dispose of acid gas (carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide, waste products of natural gas processing) on the site of a large gas processing plant, by injecting it into an underlying rock formation. Here is the public description of the location:

CASE 14329: Application of Anadarko Petroleum Corporation for approval of an acid gas injection well, San Juan County, New Mexico. Applicant seeks approval to drill an acid gas injection well at its Kirtland New Mexico site. The well will be drilled 1650 feet from the North line and 2310 feet from the West line in Unit F of Section 1, Township 29 North, Range 15 West NMPM, to inject up to 2000 barrels of acid gas per day at a maximum pressure of 1985 psi, into the Entrada Formation, at an approximate depth of 6500 feet to 6700 feet.

Concerned citizens in New Mexico contacted SkyTruth. We loaded the township/range grid into our GIS software, identified the location, and converted it to latitude/longitude coordinates. Then we plugged the location into Google Earth to generate a few images showing the proposed disposal well. Here’s the response to our work:

Thank you so much! I do believe you have located it. I was not aware that the plant was this large and so near Kirtland. It is much closer to residences than their permit request implies. We of course are worried about H2S leaks as well as the underground process…

It is really amazing how much we use these satellite pictures now. You have really opened up a valuable tool to us with your work. I find that they really help cut to the chase when shown to someone during a discussion. Usually people are stunned to see them. Can’t hide and it is hard to argue with pictures. They are a terrific and valuable tool for sure. – Kris Dixon