Eagle Ford Task Force - Water Issues at the Forefront of Agenda

The Eagle Ford Task Force met November 2, at the UTSA campus in downtown San Antonio. Water issues are at the forefront of the task force's agenda. Six experts invited by RRC Commissioner David Porter addressed the task force. Two of the presentation and the agenda can be accessed below

Both Darrell Brownlow, a geologist, and Stephen Jester, an engineer with ConocoPhillips, indicated there should be ample water to supply fracking needs in the Eagle Ford. Brownlow estimates that for every 1 acre-foot of water used in fracking that 280 acre-feet are used for other purposes. Jester estimates that at peak consumption the Eagle Ford will only account for 5-6.7% of water demand in the 16 county region he evaluated. That's really focusing in on the core. The aquifers in the region cover much more than 16 counties.

Advancements in completions are also decreasing the amount of water used in each well. Early on, operators reported using 125,000 bbls or more in completions, but some are now using less than 85,000 bbls of water per well and Jester believes that number will continue to decline on an efficiency basis.

Brent Halldorson of Fountain Quail Water Management addressed the potential of recycling flow back water (water produced after a hydraulic fracture completion). The industry has the opportunity to recycle as much as 15-20% of the water it uses in hydraulic fracturing. Fountain Quail recently opened a water treatment plant in Kenedy, TX.

One attendee brought up the fact that water used in fracking is taken out of the hydrologic cycle and not replaced, but several industry participants made sure the panel was aware that natural gas combustion creates water and that some have estimated the same amount of water used in fracking is produced from combustion of natural gas in the first few years of an Eagle Ford well's life. Interesting.

The Eagle Ford Task Force plans to meet once a month to address issues and concerns related to the Eagle Ford. Stay up to date with task force news at our Task Force News page.