Adaptive Water/Energy Management Solutions from Regional to Global Scale
Hanson, Gary M.
Although shale gas and tight oil development originated in the U.S. and has now matured in some of the domestic basins, it has become a challenge in many other basins worldwide. It is important to evaluate why domestic development has flourished in some basins and not in others as a possible roadmap to slow development internationally. In the U.S., the critical role water resources have played is now widely recognized. The tacit knowledge gained about sourcing, utilizing and treating water throughout its life cycle, by all vested parties is vital to meeting challenges internationally. China, India and many other countries have invested over $25 billion in shale gas and tight oil development in the U.S. over the last 4 years. New unconventional reserves are being evaluated at a rapid pace. This has caused a shift in global and national energy policies. In 2012, the U.S., natural gas (32%) has equaled coal (32%) in generation of electricity for the first time ever. Shale gas and tight oil development requires water for the common practice of slick-water fracturing. Four to eight million gallons of water to stimulate each well seems large, but in many areas of the world this is not excessive, especially if surface water is used. As development moves into basins that exhibit water scarcity, foreign and domestic, significant challenges arise. Some examples are the Tarim Basin in China, Ghadames Basin of Algeria and the very high potential Neuquen Basin in Argentina. How these reserves will be developed is still a question. As the technology to produce hydrocarbons from these unconventional reserves has evolved as an adaptive process through drilling and completion experience, so has the need to recognize adaptive capacity to effectively utilize water in the larger context of potential impacts to the general public, agriculture and other industries. The need for disruptive technologies for arid basins is critical worldwide and tacit knowledge gained in technology and adaptive social management approaches is proving vital for worldwide unconventional energy development.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90163©2013AAPG 2013 Annual Convention and Exhibition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, May 19-22, 2013