Across North America, in various shale plays, natural gas development faces criticism and questions regarding the volume of water used to hydraulically fracture a well. While volume varies, it is estimated that, on average, 3-6 million gallons of water are used to frac a well.
On average, across the Marcellus 4.4 million gallons are used on each well. The State College Borough Water Authority calculates that 12-20 million gallons of water are used in the Marcellus Shale each day.
The findings aren’t too far in Texas, either. The Eagleford Shale, on average, uses 4.8 million gallons of water per well. Over 18 months, 19.2 billion gallons were used in that play.
In 2011, the EPA estimated that between 70 billion and 140 billion gallons of water were used to frac 35,000 wells in one year.
Although 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered with water, use of high volumes poses the question of how natural gas operators can make the most of the world’s most abundant resource. Whether out on the pad, being sent downhole, or transferred between sites, how are your managing your water?
Three topics come to mind when considering water in the hydraulic fracturing process:
Your water storage system should be working for you: offering an economic and environmental savings. We have developed safe and sustainable solutions as the industry has transitioned from water storage in pits and water corrals to aboveground water storage tanks. We’ve taken that a step further and developed an entire water storage system.
Post-frac, water should be treated to maintain its properties for reuse. We treat flowback right on site for 100% reuse. Not only does this minimize the step of having to dispose of water, it allows for a savings of disposal and transfer costs.
By treating flowback, we’ve eliminated a step in the process, freeing up water to be transferred wherever and whenever needed.
Yes, 70% is a large amount of water – and with the amount consumed and used across the globe, we are challenged and called to preserve that resource. Are you rising to the challenge?