Recently, the United States (US) oil and gas industry has dramatically increased its production, primarily due to technological advances in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Current hydraulic fracturing practices require a significant amount of water. Section 9.2.1 of the API Recommended Practice (2015) states that of development activities including drilling and completion activites, hydraulic fracturing, typically results in the most significant water use. For context, hydraulic fracturing operations in 2000 used approximately 177,000 gallons of water per oil and gas well. According to USGS, hydraulic fracturing requirements increased to over four million gallons of water per oil well and 5.1 million gallons of water per gas well in 2014 (USGS, 2015). The Environmental Protection Agency's multiyear study found an increasing trend in water use per well attributed to growing numbers of wells drilled, with longer laterals and more stages completed (Dunn-Norman, et al., 2018).
Many US oil and gas companies’ annual reports and public communications currently feature sustainability and environmentally-responsible development strategies. However, opportunities to minimize negative environmental impact without affecting the value of a large-scale unconventional development is extremely difficult, particularly in the current low oil price market. Operators throughout the industry are developing water management facilities focused on safe, reliable and environmentally friendly water management practices. This paper discusses utilizing in-situ mechanical rock property data to optimize completion strategies, which can help reduce the negative impacts of hydraulic fracturing, while maintaining, and often increasing, production.