Report on Water Use in Marcellus Shale FrackingOctober 30, 2013
Downstream Strategies, a self-described environmental consulting firm, has released a study (link opens pdf file) of water use in hydraulically fractured natural gas wells in the Marcellus Shale in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. The most important findings are the scale of water use in the region – between 4 and 5 million gallons per well, and between 92% and 94% of that water remains deep beneath the surface, permanently removed from the hydrological cycle. If wells are fracked at the most opportune times (during normal or high water periods), this is not currently a problem, but with the possibility of tens of thousands more wells in the future, water use will be an increasing concern. This only increases the attractiveness of waterless fracking techniques, such as the one being developed by Expansion Energy, which compresses gas drawn from the well itself and uses it in a closed loop process (which is also more energy efficient).