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Hydraulic Fracturing and Water Resources: a Texas Study

Jean-Philippe Nicot
[email protected]

Population growth and overall increase in water demand in the state of Texas has drawn attention to a seemingly new water user: the oil and gas industry. Historically using fresh water to initiate waterfloods in West Texas, the industry's water needs have switched to hydraulic fracturing in many plays across the state in the past decade. They include the so-called shale plays such as the Barnett, Haynesville, Eagle Ford, and Wolfcamp plays but also tight gas and tight oil such as the Cotton Valley in East Texas and the Spraberry in West Texas. Contrasts in climatic conditions control the amount of surface water vs. groundwater being used and the reliance on non-fresh water and recycling/reuse. In general, towards the East, more surface water is used whereas towards the South and West, more groundwater, sometimes a significant of which is brackish, is used. The overall amount remains low at the state level but local or regional aquifers have the risk of being negatively impacted. Current water use, 82,000 acre-feet in 2011, approximately 80% of which is consumed, is low compared to the state water use at ~15 million acre-feet but can be locally relatively much larger. The presentation will summarize a report recently submitted to the Texas Water Development Board (http://www.twdb.texas.gov/waterplanning/rwp/planningdocu/2016/current_docs.asp).

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90167©2013 GCAGS and GCSSEPM 63rd Annual Convention, New Orleans, Louisiana, October 6-8, 2013