Ohio’s Class II underground brine injection wells accepted 27,437,632 bbl of wastewater in 2015, up 9.5% from the 25,049,474 bbl accepted in 2014, according to new data provided by the state’s Division of Natural Resources (ODNR).

Ohio’s brine disposal wells took in 14,594,638 bbl from in-state sources in 2015, with the remaining 12,842,995 bbl coming from out-of-state sources, according to ODNR. Ohio’s injection wells accept a significant amount of their produced water from nearby Pennsylvania and West Virginia (see Shale Daily, Dec. 16, 2015).

Quarterly brine disposal injection volumes declined steadily throughout 2015 — especially out-of-state volumes — peaking in the first quarter at 7,820,378 bbl (4,058,560 bbl from out-of-state). That compares to 6,112,917 bbl (2,464,282 bbl out-of-state) accepted in 4Q2015 and 6,742,675 bbl (2,622,677 bbl out-of-state) in 3Q2015.

The 2015 injection volumes represent a sharp increase from the 16,440,435 bbl injected in 2013, corresponding with a dramatic rise in production from the Marcellus and Utica shales over the same period.

According to the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest Drilling Productivity Report data (see Shale Daily, March 7), the Utica produced 3.59 Bcf/d in February, compared with 2.44 Bcf/d in February 2015 and 848.5 MMcf/d in February 2014. Marcellus production has flattened off in recent months but held steady at 17.45 Bcf/d in February, compared with 16.08 Bcf/d in February 2015 and 13.75 Bcf/d in February 2014.

Appalachian Basin production has remained strong even as drilling activity has slowed, with the Marcellus down to 30 rigs as of February and the Utica down to 13 rigs, according to EIA.

In January, Ohio lawmakers introduced a bill to tighten regulations on the state’s underground injection wells (see Shale Daily, Jan. 20), but the legislation has not advanced past committee, according to information provided by the Ohio Legislature.

Ohio injection wells have come under scrutiny in recent years, with the state investigating two wells in Trumbull County for possible links to seismic activity (see Shale Daily, March 17, 2015; Sept. 22, 2014; Sept. 2, 2014). Elected officials in Trumbull County later asked Gov. John Kasich to issue a moratorium on new injection wells (see Shale Daily, June 24, 2015).