Thursday, November 20, 2014

Oil and gas states producing 60 to 70 million gallons of contaminated water every day

Oil and gas states are producing more contaminated water than oil or gas, John Kemp reports for Reuters. "In 2007, when the shale revolution was still in its infant stages, the U.S. oil and gas industry was already producing more than 20 billion barrels of waste water per year, according to researchers at the Argonne National Laboratory. (Reuters photo by Brett Carlsen: Trucks carrying water to natural gas rigs in Monroeton, Penn.)

"The industry’s daily output was 5 million barrels of oil, 67 billion cubic feet of natural gas and 55 million barrels of water, according to federal government statistics," Kemp writes. "Argonne estimated that more than 7.5 barrels of water were produced for every barrel of crude—and 260 barrels of water for every million cubic feet of natural gas—based on state and federal records for onshore oil and gas production." 

"Older wells produce a higher proportion of water, so states with a long history of oil and gas production and large numbers of aging stripper wells tend to have the highest volumes of water production and the highest water-to-oil and water-to-gas ratios," Kemp writes. "The five old oil- and gas-producing states of Texas (7.4 billion barrels of water), California (2.6 billion), Oklahoma (2.2 billion), Kansas (1.2 billion) and Louisiana (1.1 billion) accounted for almost three quarters of water production in 2007."

For example, Illinois produced 43 barrels of water for every barrel of oil, Kansas 22 barrels of water for every barrel of oil and California 10 barrels of water for every barrel of oil, Kemp writes. "Unfortunately, there are no more-recent comprehensive nationwide estimates. But the amount of produced water being handled is now much higher thanks to the shale revolution." 

It's estimated that water production today is between 60 to 70 million barrels of water each day, Kemp writes. "The vast majority of water from onshore oil and gas wells, accounting for more than 92 percent of all produced water, is re-injected underground to maintain pressure in the reservoir (71 percent) or into non-producing formations for disposal (21 percent)." (Read more)

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