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Recovered Water Management Study in Shale Wells

A detailed review of the different processes available for treating the water recovered from a hydraulically-fractured shale gas well.

This new study was prepared by independent consultant Environmental Resources Management (ERM) and commissioned by the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (OGP). The study is a detailed review of the different processes available for treating the water recovered from a hydraulically-fractured shale gas well.

Water management is one of the concerns about shale gas operations. The proven and reliable techniques the industry has been using and upgrading for decades are effective in mitigating the impact on the environment.

Hydraulic fracturing has been used for over 50 years by the oil and gas industry. Industry standards exist for managing each element of the process including the acquisition, use and reuse or disposal of water. Implementing these standards helps ensure safe and environmentally-sound operations.

During a hydraulic fracturing operation, operators typically inject fluid at high pressure into a well to create cracks in the rock formations thousands of meters below ground, creating fractures that allow the gas trapped in the rock to flow to the surface.

Hydraulic fracturing fluids are, on average, 99.5% water and sand – only 0.5% is made up by chemical additives. For more information about the hydraulic fracturing fluids used by OGP members in Europe, please check www.ngsfacts.org.

Volume and quality of the recovered water vary on single sites, as well as across different shale plays. The amount of recovered water to be treated in a year in Europe could be at most 50 million cubic metres – equivalent to 0.1% (or 1/1000th) of total estimated industrial water that is currently discharged in Europe.

Download the report from the ERM website

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