North Dakota’s Fracked Wells Need More Water for Maintenance

by Rachel Baker on November 12, 2013

Here’s a fascinating article about Fracked Wells in North Dakota and the need to keep amazing amounts of water flowing just to keep the oil flowing throughout the life of the well.

It’s well known that water has been key to the shale oil and gas rush in the United States. But in one center of the hydraulic fracturing boom—North Dakota—authorities are finding that the initial blast of water to frack the wells is only the beginning.

The wells being drilled into the prairie to tap into the Bakken shale need “maintenance water”—lots of it—to keep the oil flowing.

So while the water first pumped down the hole to crack rock formations and release the underground oil and natural gas typically totals 2 million gallons (7.5 million liters) per well, each of North Dakota’s wells is daily drinking down an average of more than 600 gallons (2,300 liters) in maintenance water, according to recent calculations by North Dakota’s Department of Mineral Resources (DMR).

Without water, salt buildup forms and restricts the flow of oil.

Over the life of the well, which authorities presume will be 30 to 40 years, maintenance water needs could add up to 6.6 million to 8.8 million gallons (25 to 33.3 million liters)—or more than three to four times the water required for the initial fracking.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/energy/2013/11/131111-north-dakota-wells-maintenance-water/

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: