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Water as a Driver for Building Adaptive Capacity and Resilience in Oil and Gas Resource Plays: Geosciences is a Transformative Agent for the Public Good.

Gary M. Hanson
Director, Red River Watershed Management Institute, Louisiana State University Shreveport, Shreveport, LA

Water management in regions of the country and world where shale oil and gas plays have become active is undergoing significant change. Water needs for well stimulation are significant (3 to 7 millions of gallons per well), but typically not overwhelming, depending on the geology of the reservoir, rock properties, well depth, regional hydrology and climate. As a boom develops, there is little time for planning by water managers, if they even exist. Water management has become a critical issue for communities and oil and gas operators. Operators, and governing bodies alike, were not prepared for the complexity and the uncertainty, inherent in surface and groundwater management. These issues affect regions that have a history of production, as well as those areas that have never experienced oil and gas production. This critical need for water is driving all stakeholders to recognize the interdependence and value of both resources. The tacit knowledge from both petroleum geology and hydrology should be jointly brought to bear to insure that water usage for energy development includes the factors of climate, seasonality, community water needs and ecological needs. Like no other industry, the oil and gas community has the adaptive capacity to insure the fore-mentioned factors are incorporated as in-house policies so that new state and federal regulations are not needed. These issues can no longer be considered “peripheral” to, or an after-thought of, the “main” goals of the corporation. Proactive leadership at the top is starting to become the norm and not the exception.

 

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90152©2012 AAPG Southwest Section Meeting, Fort Worth, Texas, 19-22 May 2012