The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) intends to issue an underwater injection control permit to Energy Resources Management — ENREMA — the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation has announced.
That announcement, which came in the form of a public notice placed by ENREMA as required by federal law, would convert a conventional oil well owned by ENREMA in the Coal Hills Field to a water injection well.
ENREMA, which in 2014 purchased the assets of Huntsville-based Miller Energy Resources, recently began experimenting with what are known as enhanced recovery techniques, and reported that it could increase its well production by five fold.
Specifically, the permitted well in Scott County will be injected with ground water from a water well in an effort to enhance production.
Typically, an oil well can only recover up to 35 percent of the oil that is in place. By injecting water far beneath the earth’s surface to increase pressure, five to 50 percent of the oil that remains can be recovered.
The ENREMA well will inject ground water into the Fort Payne Formation, the limestone rock formation, more than 2,200 ft. below the surface.
The EPA is currently receiving public comments on the proposed permit. Comments can be submitted to 61 Forsyth Street, S.W. Atlanta, Georgia, 30303-8960, Attn: Mr. James Ferreira. If there is not significant public interest in the permit, a decision will be made by the EPA after a 30-day comment period.
Headquartered in Miami, Fla, with offices in Sunbright and Knoxville, ENREMA is Tennessee’s largest privately-held gas and oil operator, with more than 700 wells — primarily in the Upper Cumberland region — and a natural gas transportation pipeline.
In addition to acquiring existing wells in the Cumberlands, ENREMA has staged an aggressive mineral-leasing campaign to build its local operation.
In 2013, the company discovered a new oil field in Fentress County, where it placed 13 wells.
In an early study, the company pumped liquid nitrogen into a producing well, finding that the technique upped production from a barrel per day to 40 barrels per day.