DOLORES – A 3D seismic study proposed by Kinder Morgan, LLC for the Doe Canyon Deep Unit has been approved by the U.S. Forest Service Dolores District Ranger and the Bureau of Land Management’s Tres Rios Field Manager and is scheduled to take place this July.
The survey will take place across 121 square miles of public lands east of Dove Creek. Explosive charges will send energy waves into the earth and the reflected waves will be recorded on the surface and then processed to provide an underground geologic profile map.
The seismic survey will target carbon dioxide reservoirs in areas where underground minerals are leased to Kinder Morgan LLC, Inc., as defined by the Doe Canyon Deep Unit boundaries. The purpose and need is to facilitate the exploration and development of granted mineral rights, while minimizing effects to natural resources.
The gas is used in a process called CO2 flooding that boosts production in mature oil fields. Kinder Morgan transports CO2 through pipelines in southwestern Colorado to west Texas, where it is injected into oil-producing fields. The company is the second largest oil producer in Texas, producing over 55,000 barrels of oil per day.
“Kinder Morgan is looking for geologic information about the CO2 deposits in the area and will be doing a seismic study,” Forest Service spokesman Robert Garrigues said. “The other option would be to drill exploratory holes but this [method] is much less environmentally damaging. They suspect that there is quite a large deposit of CO2 in the area.”
The approved 3D seismic study will include the use of helicopters, portable drill rigs, and detonation of explosive charges within shot holes. Using portable drill rigs, crews will drill 4-inch diameter holes to approximately 45-feet deep along east-west trending lines. Each hole will then be packed with small explosive charges and sealed, backfilled, and covered at the surface. Receiver phones (geophones) will be laid on the surface of the ground in north-south trending lines.
Using wireless technology, the charges will be detonated one at a time in a controlled pattern. Most of the explosive noise will stay in the hole and travel downward, creating underground vibrations. After the receivers record the vibrations, they will be picked up and moved to the next set of prepared shot-holes. Safety officers and trained personnel will be on hand to oversee all aspects of the operation.
“One of the nice things about this project is the company is trying to be really environmentally conscious by using really high-end technology and wireless geophones,” Garrigues said.
The project is estimated to begin on BLM lands west of the Dolores River Canyon on July 1 of this year. The survey will progress across BLM lands this summer, and will resume on Forest Service lands east of the Dolores River canyon in summer 2014. The complete survey should be accomplished by late summer 2014.
Details about the final decision, including implementation techniques for public safety and resource protection, are described in the final decision documents and maps which are available at the Dolores Public Lands Office, 29211 Hwy 184, Dolores, Colorado. Information is also available on the San Juan National Forest projects web site at: fs.usda.gov/goto/sanjuan/projects.