Exploration, drilling and production of shale gas plays such as the Barnett, Marcellus, Fayetteville, and Haynesville have transformed the unconventional gas industry. These and other existing and developing plays have had significant positive economic impacts to many regions, created tens of thousands of jobs, and have generated royalty and tax payments to a variety of state and local governments as well as many individuals. At the core of shale gas development are two key technologies: horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Techniques used to hydraulically fracture horizontal wells completed in shale reservoirs often require three to seven million gallons of water per well. The rapid development of shale gas across the country has resulted in a substantial discussion of water issues such as the impacts of water withdrawal, and disposal of produced water. Because of the rapid increase in shale gas development, the concerns about these issues have focused more and more on cumulative impacts of these activities. This paper will explore the considerations and challenges involved when examining the potential cumulative impacts from different water sourcing options, including low-quality water sources, and from different ways of managing produced water, such as underground injection, treatment through commercial and public treatment facilities, disposal and reuse. Basin-specific situations and factors will be discussed.

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.