The following is an excerpt from a newsletter distributed by the fracking industry in which they admit to the increasingly-astronomical amounts of water needed to acquire the oil, and the amounts of produce (contaminated) water after the process.
Less than a decade ago, it took 100,000 barrels of water to frac a well, but now that number is 5 times higher and continues to increase….
It is estimated that 4 to 8 barrels of water is produced for every barrel of oil. Add to this the flowback water from injection, and we are dealing with billions of barrels annually….
…the former practice of treating around 40% of produced water has now skyrocketed to nearly 100% in some areas. As a result, many consider water “the new oil….”
Here is a link to the complete article found in Oil and Gas Online.
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-
With the rise of unconventional oil drilling practices, the demand for water has risen significantly over the past few years. Previously, the cost of water to drill a well was just a small part of the price of doing business, and the amount of water needed was not as high as it is today. But recently the paradigm has shifted from simply injecting produced water back into the ground to placing more value on water and finding new and creative ways to reuse or recycle it. The main drivers of this trend include water scarcity, costs and regulations. Processes and practices vary significantly
In the oilfields, water matters – and so does your instrumentation
by shale region due to geographical differences and the associated costs and limitations placed on underground water injection, transportation and storage capacity. Add to this the variability in oil prices and break-even points, and it quickly becomes apparent why there is increasing emphasis on more efficient water usage. A new industry has emerged to better serve the water needs of the oil and gas sector. This has allowed drilling experts to focus on what they do best while the experts on water treatment and management find better ways to maximize the use of produced water, thereby reducing the need for fresh water. Water treatment in the industry is not new, but the former practice of treating around 40% of produced water has now skyrocketed to nearly 100% in some areas. As a result, many consider water “the new oil” and there is growing demand to invest in better water treatment processes. This opportunity will be better exploited not only by increasing capacity, but also by automating processes and reducing manual intervention – ultimately leading to lower operating costs, improved efficiency and safer environments.
Refining any process requires new thinking in order to implement improvements and stay ahead of the competition. Those who adopt automation stand to achieve higher efficiency, more competitive prices and a better profit margin that will keep them in business during economic downturns, which are common in the oil and gas industry. Automation also reduces the risk of accidents, making it easier to comply with new regulations and protect the environment. Water treatment processes range from very simple to an impressively high level of complexity. However, one trait that nearly all share in common is a need for process instrumentation. Understanding where and how to use a specific level, flow, pressure or temperature measurement technology will support you in achieving your automation goals – from refining your processes to managing your inventory in real time and, ultimately, improving your bottom line. What’s driving the need for more water in oil drilling? The quantity of water used in unconventional drilling has increased dramatically. The amount varies by region, but it has risen nearly everywhere due to deeper wells, longer laterals and the huge volume of proppant needed for each fracking project. Less than a decade ago, it took 100,000 barrels of water to frac a well, but now that number is 5 times higher and continues to increase. The issue goes beyond how much water is needed per well; it also extends to the amount of water produced and flowed back that needs to be treated or injected into the ground. It is estimated that 4 to 8 barrels of water is produced for every barrel of oil. Add to this the flowback water from injection, and we are dealing with billions of barrels annually. Some large producers have committed to reducing or eliminating the use of fresh water by substituting brackish water, which is also effective. But this practice does not significantly reduce the amount of water that will be required in the future – and without it, frac jobs can be delayed or halted. Thus, midstream water companies are now dealing with the logistics of rising water demand and must better support production with an increased focus on water handling, treatment reuse and disposal….