Rice University Scientists Seek Long-Term Answers To Stem Increase of Water Use at Wells
Rice University scientists have performed a detailed analysis of water produced by hydraulic fracturing of three gas reservoirs and suggested environmentally friendly remedies are needed to treat and reuse it.
Rice University researchers performed a detailed analysis of produced water from three underground shale gas formations subject to hydraulic fracturing. Fig. 1 shows the amounts of total carbon (TC), nonpurgeable organic carbon (NPOC) and total inorganic carbon (TIC) in the samples.
More advanced recycling rather than disposal of produced water pumped back out of wells could calm fears of accidental spillage and save millions of gallons of fresh water a year, said Rice chemist Andrew Barron. He led the study that appeared this week in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Environmental Science: Processes and Impacts.
The amount of water used by Texas drillers for hydraulic fracturing may only be 1.5% of that used by farming and municipalities, but it still amounts to as much as 5.6 million gallons a year for the Texas portion of the Haynesville formation and 2.8 million gallons for Eagle Ford. That, Barron said, can place a considerable burden on nearby communities.
Barron noted that shale gas wells, the focus of the new study, make most of their water within the first few weeks of production. After that, a few barrels a day are commonly produced.