Terra-Petra has been providing Oil Well Due Diligence services for a well-known Southern California contractor at California State University Dominguez Hills Campus in Carson, CA. The site will be developed for Student Housing.
Terra-Petra was able to locate a metallic anomaly having the signature of a steel cased oil well by using a Geometrics G858 cesium magnetometer (G858). The location of the well was staked in anticipation of excavating the area to expose the well head. The Southern California District Office of the California Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) was notified after the metallic anomaly was identified. Terra-Petra prepared and submitted a Construction Site Well Review Application (CSWR) through email to their office. We also notified with the local CalGEM dispatcher our intent to uncover the well and perform an oil well leak test of the casing.
During the excavation we were able to remove surface mulch, excavating soil, removing debris and noting in use infrastructure. The well was located in the east sidewall of the excavation pit at approximately 8 ft. below surface grade. Care was taken to control dust during the excavation and backfilling.
CalGEM was invited to be onsite during the leak test. However, they elected to participate remotely via Facetime to inspect the casing and to witness the leak testing activities as they were being conducted. The subject steel well casing measured approximately 13.5-inch diameter and was found to have a metal top plate continuously welded within the well casing, approximately 0.25-in. to 0.5-in. below the top of the top of the steel well casing. The metal top plate was inspected and apparently was not labeled with well name and/or date of well abandonment.
Results of the emissions monitoring at the top of the well excavation pit showed Non-Detect for combustible gas (as methane and C1 to C6 petroleum hydrocarbons) and ND for hydrogen sulfide as background levels.
Results of emissions monitoring at the top and sides of the exposed well casing showed detectable
concentrations of combustible gas ranging from zero to 2 ppmv with non-detectable concentrations of
hydrogen sulfide (less than 0.1 ppmv). Results of the bubble leak-testing activity showed no bubbles and therefore no indication of pressured gas leakage from the top of the well casing.
Prior to backfilling the excavation, as we always do, Terra-Petra surveyed the casing by obtaining ground specific field locations and elevations within the defined mapping limits. Said areas included centerline monuments to establish parcel Right of Way, Location of Oil Well in question, NAD 83 latitudes and longtitudes to an accuracy of 6 decimal places as well as the elevation of top of well in NAVD 88.
Terra-Petra directed the backfilling of the well excavation pit by using the backhoe to push stockpiled soil back into the pit, and a sheep’s foot wheel to compact the soil to restore surface grade elevation contours. A trailer-mounted 400-gallon water buffalo with pump and hose were used to manage dust control during soil excavation and backfilling activities
All work performed so far has been completed in compliance with the California Public Resources Code (PRC) Article 4: Regulation of Operations: Code Sections 3200-3258.