One of the biggest shifts in the U.S. oil and gas industry over the last decade is the combined use of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to produce hydrocarbons from shale rock. As this segment of the unconventional industry has progressed, the cost of production has steadily decreased each year, however, associated water costs have increased over this same period. This is partially due to use of larger and larger volumes of water as lateral lengths, staging and proppant loads have increased. Not only does this additional water cost more to source (from primarily aquifers or surface sources), but flowback volumes that demand disposal also increase.

Recycling and reuse of flowback and produced water seems an obvious mitigation measure to address rising water costs, thereby reducing sourcing costs for subsequent well fracturing operations as well as wastewater disposal costs. Although water reuse seems obvious, the processes and levels of treatment vary considerably depending on many factors that can be very different among the shale plays

This presentation discusses the changing dynamics of water usage in the shale industry and the challenges and opportunities associated with treatment, specifically focusing on the treatment objectives for water recycling and the chemistry and required technology to meet those objectives. The presentation will provide this information in the context of findings from multiple recent produced water treatment studies.

Primary Author / Conference Presenter:
Robert Boysen
Director of Engineering and Technology
Water Standard
Sugar Land, Texas, USA

Lisa Henthorne, Duane Devall, Valentina Llano; Water Standard, Texas