Fracking a well in the Eagle Ford requires around six million gallons of water. That's enough water for 240 adult Texans for an entire year. As dry conditions continue to parch Texas, several companies are experimenting with water free methods of fracking. Exxon, Halliburton, Apache Energy and others have explored alternatives to using fresh water for fracking including recycling frack water.
Fountain Quail’s state-of-the-art ROVER System, unveiled in October 2011, can treat up to 10,000 barrels of flowback and produced water per day at or near the source. This flexibility addresses some of the most pressing challenges faced by operators in shale plays across North America, most notably the need to preserve finite fresh water resources.
“Given the significantly higher margins and shorter selling cycles associated with oil versus natural gas, demand is clearly shifting to oil production in the shale plays,” said Richard Magnus, Chairman of Calgary-based Aqua-Pure. “This has opened up a new market opportunity for our company, since our technology has proven to be just as effective with shale oil wastewater as with natural gas.”
GASFRAC Energy Services Inc., has announced success with a propane gel that carries sand particles deep into the ground and evaporates after releasing the oil and gas locked in the shale. Environmental groups are no less concerned with the potential impacts of using propane rather than water to frack -- not to mention the fact that it takes a significant amount of water to produce GASFRAC's fracking gel.
But as Texas continues to deal with ongoing drought, alternatives like these will have to fill the gap until groundwater supplies are replenished.