Fracking Uses 16% of Eagle Ford Water

Water Usage Expands Exponentially
Water Usage Increases in Eagle Ford

Water Usage Increases in Eagle Ford

Researchers from the University of Austin say that water usage in the Eagle Ford has expanded exponentially over the last five years thanks to fracking.

Related: Eagle Ford Shale Water Use and Concerns

The study, conducted by Bridget Scanlon, Robert Reedy and Jean Philippe Nicot,  originated from concerns about potential water constraints that might limit oil and gas production using hydraulic fracturing in shale plays, particularly in semiarid regions and during droughts.

Fracking relies on massive amounts of water to break the shale rock to extract oil or gas. Scientis tracked Eagle Ford water usage for hydraulic fracturing between 2009 and 2013 and found that the 18 billion gallons used represent ~ 16% of the total water consumption in the area for 2012.

The study concluded that the regional impact is relatively small, saying “The comprehensive analysis of Eagle Ford water issues and comparison with other semiarid plays indicates that, with proper management, water should not constrain hydraulic fracking in these semiarid regions.”

The biggest area of concern noted in the study is that the Carrizo Wilcox Aquifer in the western part of the Eagle Ford has been declining for decades due to agricultural pumping in the area. Researchers go on to advise that producers should consider using brackish water as a way to avoid clashing with agricultural interests.

Related: South Texas Water Supply Sufficient

Read the full text of the UT study here.

Eagle Ford Disposal Wells Becoming More Common

8,000 Wells Dispose Of 4 Billion Barrels Of Waste Water Per Year
Eagle Ford Disposal Well Map

Eagle Ford Disposal Well Map | Click to Enlarge

Oil & gas operators in the state of Texas are disposing of 75 times more waste water than they were in 2005. Growth in disposal volumes is the result of expanded use of hydraulic fracturing and growing water production from oil & gas wells. The state of Texas is producing more oil than it has in 20+ years. Since many of those wells produce associated water, that means more water. [Read more…]

New Oil & Gas Water Recycling Rules – TX RRC

Water Recycling At Oil & Gas Wells in TX Just Got a Bit Easier

The Railroad Commission has adopted new rules to encourage Texas operators to continue their efforts at conserving water used in the hydraulic fracturing process for oil and gas wells. They have essentially relaxed rules to make it easier for operators to recycle water onsite.

Major changes adopted to the Commission’s water recycling rules include eliminating the need for a recycling permit if operators are recycling fluid on their own leases or transferring their fluids to another operator’s lease for recycling. The changes adopted by the Commission today also clearly identify recycling permit application requirements and reflect existing standard field conditions for recycling permits.

Chairman Barry Smitherman said, “By removing regulatory hurdles, these new amendments will help foster the recycling efforts by oil and gas operators who continue to examine ways to reduce freshwater use when hydraulically fracturing well.”

Commissioner David Porter said, “Water use has been a major concern examined by my Eagle Ford Shale Task Force, and I commend our staff for working to streamline our rules to encourage more recycling.”

Commissioner Christi Craddick said, “Just as our operators have used technology to bring us into this modern day boom of oil production, they are also using technology to reduce their fresh water use. The changes adopted today will assist in those efforts.”

Water shortages in Texas in the past 5 years has brought the spotlight on new oil and gas production methods, in particular hydraulic fracturing. Even though this technique is reported to only use about 1% of water usage in the state, it is an important resource that industries are compelled to manage properly for a more responsible energy future. In doing so, a new ruling by the Texas Railroad Commission removes the regulatory hurdle from recycling frac water– bringing big promise to the future of water recycling in the region. “We see this change as an opportunity to accelerate deployment of our water recycling technologies in Texas.”, said Peter Pappas, VP at Bosque Systems.

The rule amendment also establishes five categories of commercial recycling permits to reflect industry practices in the field:

  • On-lease Commercial Solid Oil and Gas Waste Recycling
  • Off-lease or Centralized Commercial Solid Oil and Gas Waste Recycling
  • Stationary Commercial Solid Oil and Gas Waste Recycling
  • Off-lease Commercial Recycling of Fluid
  • Stationary Commercial Recycling of Fluid

The changes to the rule also establish a tiered approach for the reuse of treated fluid, including both authorized reuse of treated fluids in oil and gas operations and provisions for reusing the fluid for other non-oilfield related uses.

New Water Management Solutions Decrease Oil & Gas Impact – Press Release

Mobile Water Recycling Units Are Being Deployed In Oilfields Across the US
Bosque Systems

Bosque Systems | Click to Enlarge

Water is an essential component for oil and natural gas production during both the drilling and hydraulic fracturing processes.  Most of the water used comes from surface water sources such as area lakes, ponds, rivers and municipal supplies. Historically, the water used in drilling and hydraulic fracturing has been a one-time use.  With recent droughts, oil and natural gas operators have been seeking alternative sources of water to be used in aiding their production to minimize their ecological impacts. [Read more…]

Recycling Waste Water is Big Business

It's a shift from deep injection wells and lessens the stress on fresh water sources

About one-third of the water used to complete a well flows back when the well is brought to production.  The rest is produced throughout the life of the well. Recycling waste water is a shift for the industry.  Historically, waste water was disposed of through treatment plants, injection wells, and evaporation ponds.

Recycling Waste Water Answers Many Concerns

As the volume of water used in hydraulic fracturing has grown, operators have explored alternate solutions. The popularity of recycling water is growing as operators look for a cheaper solution to drilling deep injection wells, as they look for more environmentally friendly options, and as they combat concerns of scarce water. [Read more…]

Hydraulic Fracturing Does Not Contaminate Drinking Water

Hydraulic fracturing, fracking, or frac’ing, depending on who you talk to, DOES NOT contaminate drinking water.  That was the conclusion from a University of Texas Energy Institute study of the process.

The study noted that contamination is usually related to above ground spills or a mishandling of wastewater. [Read more…]