Recycling Water Is Recycled News Inside the Gas Industry

Recycling - Doug Berkley REportsDouglas Berkley
Business Dev. Rep. – Transportation & Oil Field Services Company
Publisher: Tri-State Shale Traveler

Recycling water is now standard practice with many natural gas companies, although some members of the press are just catching up with it.

The recent AP piece on regional drillers and their declining use of water for drilling/fracking processes really comes as no surprise to those of us in the industry.  In fact, my first thought after reading it was “tell me something I don’t know.”  I am glad to see this word finally getting out, however, because this another area where we as an industry could do a better job explaining how much water we really use when compared to other practices out there. We should be talking more about, too, about the increasing number of companies recycling water for reuse.

Contrary to what has been written the last few years, companies drilling in Pennsylvania like Range Resources and Cabot Oil & Gas (see video below) have been recycling 100% of their water for several years.  This isn’t a secret…it’s been happening for some time.  It’s a shame if a large part of the general public is just learning this fact now.

The gas industry recycling water doesn’t fit the standard anti narrative that drillers are wasting and using so much water that drought conditions are near for a community near you.  That’s just not the case.

As the numbers in the article show, much less freshwater is needed these days due to recycling and advances in technology (see, too, this article in Montrose Independent from 2012).  And no matter how the general press may want to play it, that’s a good thing for the industry.  It’s something we must shout from the rooftops and make sure the communities in which we operate understand.

I’ve been able to see these processes firsthand, starting with the monitored withdrawal of freshwater out of rivers and streams, the treatment process and ending when sent out for reuse in new wells.  It’s a well regulated process from what I have witnessed.  Every drop of water must be accounted for in each one of these steps, and an attitude of safety pervades with every worker you meet.

Recycling Water

In fact, each and every time an outsider to the process sees it for the first time, the remarks are always about all the safety measures built in to the processes.  It shouldn’t be a surprise, but from what people read, they tend to think we operate like we’re in the Wild West.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  I challenge those against what we do to actually visit the fields.  Get out of your offices and walk in our shoes, see what we see and hear.  You might be pleasantly surprised.

Check out what else is new at NaturalGasNow today!

NGNlogoNew

While you’re at it, follow us on FacebookTwitter and Linked-In!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

23 thoughts on “Recycling Water Is Recycled News Inside the Gas Industry

  1. Pingback: Recycling Water Is Recycled News Inside the Gas Industry | ShaleNOW

  2. It makes perfect sense on a pure economic standpoint, I read that trucking water for a typical franc job is in the order of four hundred thousand dollars. Reducing expenses is not exclusive to doing good environmental practice .

  3. Makes prefect sense considering the cost of trucking. I read of a typical mercellus well costing 400 thousand dollars for trucking water alone. Then you have the acquiring costs for the water and disposal of flow back if don’t recycle

  4. Douglas, the key difference in water use for Marcellus Sale drilling and the other uses you compare to is that those other uses return it to the water cycle for further use.

    Power generation uses water for cooling and in most cases it’s not consumed but merely raised slightly in temperature. If it involves a cooling tower some is lost temporarily to evaporation but falls as rail at a later date.

    By contrast, the fracking process renders water forever unusable by others. In fact the typical fate of that water is down a disposal well where it is forever lost to the Earth’s natural water cycle unless it migrates up to pollute the local aquifer.

    Of course that does not include the amounts of frack water that gets spilled into the environment. For example: “Pennsylvania officials issue $4.15 million fine to fracking company” http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2014/09/22/Pennsylvania-officials-issue-415-million-fine-to-fracking-company/2101411401668/

    After taking its tole on the health of humans, animals, fish, and the entire ecosystem, this leakage from wastewater impoundment ponds will make it’s way back into the cycle.

      • I’m amazed that you dragged out this lame argument. Sure, H2O is formed but each molecule requires two oxygen atoms. That’s a substance as essential to life as water. How can you be boasting about that?

        Of course you neglect to mention the significance of the CO2 that is also released in that combustion process. Sorry, but you can’t put a pretty face on what you are doing.

          • Tom, I encourage your friends to use captured CO2 instead of water in fracking. That would do a lot for the image of your sector. However, has anyone looked at the economics of such a stunt? Without massive DoE subsidies is can’t happen.

          • CO2 fracking is already happening. It would really be awesome scale it up industry wide to capture waste product CO2 from coal and oil plants, use that to produce NG, and sequester some of the CO2 at the same time (and reuse what might come back up).

            Regardless, production companies will decide if the economics are favorable based on their individual companies situation. If subsidies are involved to make it favorable, it is an investment in America’s future, just like subsidies for wind, solar, and tidal energy are. That is after all one important role of government, to pool the capital and allocate it to endeavors that advance our society. Better to allocate tas funds to R&D and energy production that we can all benefit from than on some of the worthless social give-aways.

            Rather than advocating against NG one would be wiser to advocate for better ways to produce it, like CO2 fracking an possibly subsidies for such methods, and the swift removal of subsidies once such technolgies are viable on their own.

        • Burning coal emits twice the CO2 as Natural Gas for the equivalent BTUs produced.
          http://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=73&t=11

          Plus burning coal emits sulfer products (remember acid rain?), fly ash, and mercury. So natural gas is a clear winner.

          How much coal is burned in China to make electricity to manufacture solar arrays? How much toxic sludge results from solar panel manufacturing, and from extraction of the rare earth minerals that go into wind turbine magnets? All outsouced to China because to produce them here with our labor and regulatory environment would make even the subsidized cost prohibitive.

          When we own up to the fact that there is no such thing as clean energy a lot of these round and round arguments go away, and we can talk about how to improve each energy source.

          • Who is talking about coal? I wasn’t talking about coal. It’s you guys that claim natural gas is so much better, yet from an AGW perspective, its not due to fugitive methane.

            What I was talking about was water consumption because that’s what Doug’s article was about. It was Tom who brought up combustion by suggesting burning natural gas is a nifty way to make up for the water lost to fracking. Then he suggests all that CO2 is a beautiful thing.

            Only here can one find such depth of BS.

          • Clifford posted, “Who is talking about coal? I wasn’t talking about coal. It’s you guys that claim natural gas is so much better, yet from an AGW perspective, its not due to fugitive methane.

            What I was talking about was water consumption because that’s what Doug’s article was about. It was Tom who brought up combustion by suggesting burning natural gas is a nifty way to make up for the water lost to fracking. Then he suggests all that CO2 is a beautiful thing.

            Only here can one find such depth of BS.”

            Earlier in these postings Tom digressed into the disucssion of combustion to refute your baseless claims about water use related to HVHF. You in turn furthered that digression with a post of your own avout CO2 and waer production from the combustion process.

            Your arguments about combustion and CO2 production can only be relevant to the main post and these comments when couched in the context of commercially viable energy sources. For all intents and purposes, even though neither you nor Tom didn’t state so yourselves, your two posts about combustion, water production, and CO2 production are in relation to HVHF NG, Oil, and, yes, Coal.

            Given the choices we have for viable energy sources to support our society on the balance sheet of pluses and minuses the fact that burning methane will produce more water than its production consumes and produces less CO2 is a beautiful thing and places it at the top of the list for energy sources we should be utilizing.

            As for the fugitive methane issue, clean completions and better infrastructure are simple mitigations for that risk. So Clifford, if you really want to be part of the solution to our societies energy needs, instead of an obstructionist saying no and in effect throwing the baby out with the bathwater, you’ll advocate for clean completions and better infrastructure standards and implementations.

            But I supect you’d rather be the naysayer. And that is where the true depth of the BS is found here.

        • In response to Tom’s substantiated post that “The combustion of natural gas produces fresh water and after two years a typical gas well produces more water than used at the outset for fracking.” , Clifford responded with the emotionally loaded, falsely concerning, and factually insignificant post, “I’m amazed that you dragged out this lame argument. Sure, H2O is formed but each molecule requires two oxygen atoms. That’s a substance as essential to life as water. How can you be boasting about that?

          Of course you neglect to mention the significance of the CO2 that is also released in that combustion process. Sorry, but you can’t put a pretty face on what you are doing.”

          In regards to the use of two oxygen atoms to form one water molecule you ask Tom, “How can you be boasting about that?” The better question, Clifford, is, “How can you be concerned about that?

          I say, so what if the methane combustion cycle uses oxygen to produce water and carbon dioxide!?

          Those two by products would still be in the atmosphere and available for the photsynthetic process to convert back to carbon compounds (carbohydrates) and molecular oxygen.

          If we look beyond the combustion cycle to the natual mitigation of the combustion by products via photsynthesis replacing coal and oil with methane is still an improvement for our society to brag about.

          For methane:
          water used to produce methane, then
          CH4+2O2→CO2+2H2O and yields 1.6 units of energy per unit mass of CH4 (http://chemwiki.ucdavis.edu/Organic_Chemistry/Case_Studies/Case_Study%3A_Fossil_Fuels)

          For coal:
          water used to produce coal, then
          C+O2→CO2 and yields 1 unit of energy per unit mass of C (coal) and a host of other serious pollutants that we’ll neglect for the sake of this posting (ibid). Plus, water is used to take care of the fly ash, adding to the “cost” of coal.

          For photosythesis:
          CO2+H2O+light→CH2O+O2

          Looking at these individual steps as two combined processes we can see that…

          …for methane…
          water used to produce methane, then
          CH4+2O2+sunlight→CH2O+O2+H2O and yields 1.6 units of energy per unit mass of CH4 (methane).

          …for coal…
          water used to produce coal, then
          C+O2+H2O+light→CH2O+O2 and yields 1 unit of energy per unit mass of C (coal) and a host of other serious pollutants that we’ll neglect for the sake of this posting. Plus, water is used to take care of the fly ash, adding to the “cost” of coal

          So we see now that oxygen is tied up into water and carbohydrates for both coal and methane combustion. For methane four oxygens are involved, for coal three are involved.

          However, paraphrasing your defense of other water uses over HVHF water use, “Douglas, the key difference in water use for Marcellus Sale drilling and the other uses you compare to is that those other uses return it to the water cycle for further use. “, the oxygen remains in the overall cycles for further use, so by your own rationalization the invovlement of oxygen is not an issue.

          For methane water trapped down hole is made up for and then some. Coal production and use pollutes more water in worse ways than methane production and use, even if coal water does “remain in the cycle”.

          The used water that remains down hole is not a threat to ground water or society. The water that comes back up is being recycled and reused. It too is not a threat to ground water or society except in the relatively period from when it is produced to when it is recylced when there is the risk of spilling. But that is no different than water used in any industrial process and is mitigable.

          Your statement that “the fracking process renders water forever unusable by others” is patently false.

          So the primary issue comes back to energy and CO2 production.

          As I’ve shown above and others have shown previously, methane produces more energy for less CO2 than coal or any other commercially viable energy source except for nuclear. If you want to advocate for nuclear go right ahead. Let us know how that works out.

          Clifford, the only assertions we “can’t put a pretty face on” around here are your short sighted and desperate attempts to denounce HVHF produced methane, for it is the best option our society has for becoming cleaner while simultaneously working towards implementing more renewable clean energy sources.

          Sorry Clifford, but your credibility diminishes with each post you place here.

          • You wrote, “Your statement that “the fracking process renders water forever unusable by others” is patently false.”

            Au contraire, Mr. Wizard. In fact it’s made so foul that most of it gets trucked to some injection well and pumped into oblivion. And there is no accountability for the consequences. See: http://insideclimatenews.org/news/20141006/how-oil-gas-waste-became-exempt-federal-regulation-timeline

            By the way, you seem to be confusing me with someone who might be fond of coal. I’m not. Like natural gas, its just another fossil resource that should be left in the ground. Renewable energy doesn’t need either, so please don’t pretend to be an enabler of anything but pollution, undrinkable water, and global warming.

          • And with his latest post Cliff squanders yet another crumb of any credibility he might still have.

            His statement “Au contraire, Mr. Wizard. In fact it’s made so foul that most of it gets trucked to some injection well and pumped into oblivion. And there is no accountability for the consequences.” is yet another misleading example of how the anits won’t let the facts get in the way of their ideology preceded by a sarcastic, factually baseless ad hominen attack of desparation.

            Fact is, two companies that I know of (Salt Water Solutions and GE) without even doing a google search can treat the foulest of water to BETTER than feeral drinking water standards and better than the bottled water sold in your local store. Also the military has field portable units that can treat the most vile polluted water to drinkable standards. After all an army needs water and can’t be fussy about being able to use whatever they can find. As for the acountability for the water, in NY the SGEIS will require drillers to have water treatment plans in place before a permit will be issued.

            In addition in PA every drop of water is accounted for. I know water haulsers and they have to maintain strict records of how much they haul, where it comes from, where it goes, etc. etc. Same for the waste haulers. In our bueruacratic world how can you be so naive as to think that there is no accountability or to try to peddle such an ignorant statement. I think the recent record fine that the PA DEP levied shows that drillers are expected to be accoutnable and will face consequences if they don’t.

            And don’t try to play the “gotcha game” for my purposely ignoring your reference to “consequences” as you mentioned accountabilty in regards to disposal methods. Recycled water has no consequences other than perhaps being cleaner than the boy of water where ever it might be dumped back into. Injection wells do have consequences, but they are either insignificant or as a society we can decide not use injection wells (they aren’t allowed in NY) and rely on treatement and recycling. the increasingly outdated use of less favorable means of dealing with waste is not a reason to ban HVHF. It is merely a reason to improve the means for dealing with the waste as the means are out there.

            So once again Cliff, instead of being an obstructionist you’d be better off spending your time and energy advocating for 100% use of such treatment capability and mandated stronger accountability for those cases when proper processes are not used. Then you would be improving the situaition for everybody rather than simply being a self agrandizzing idealogue for a lost cause.

          • cdanon, please note I said, “most of it.” Sure there are methods of dealing with toxic waste but they are expensive. It is far cheaper to pump the stuff down a hole and ignore the long-term consequences. Like CCS at a natural gas power plant, it’s technically possible but not economic.

          • With every comment you further demonstrate just how incredibly ignorant you are of this industry, Cliff. Cabot recycles virtually everything. So do many other companies. They use no injection wells and they make more money than most. Stop asserting facts which aren’t so….No, on second thought, keep doing it, because you are proving without a shadow of doubt how little you know. You’re an ideologue posing as someone knowledgeable and you are not.

          • Tom, your reaction to contrary opinion is revealing. When in doubt, commence name calling – you’ll never change.

            Recycling frack water for a second or third well makes good sense but it’s not what I’m talking about. Eventually most of it gets injected down a disposal well.

          • Readers will be sharp to see who’r name-calling and who reaches in their bag of baseless assertions whenever they get caught demonstrating their ignorance, which you have been, several times with respect to this thread alone.

          • Cliff replied “…Sure there are methods of dealing with toxic waste but they are expensive. It is far cheaper to pump the stuff down a hole and ignore the long-term consequences. Like CCS at a natural gas power plant, it’s technically possible but not economic.”

            First of all, the NG waste water is not toxic by techinical standards. It is classified as an industrial waste. So stop that misleading and fear mongering mis-information.

            Second, if it is so uneconomical to recycle it, then why not advocate for recycling it? If it is uneconomical as you say then requiring it will stop the NG industry in its tracks. If it is economical it will drive NG development to a cleaner more responsible standard. Either way you can rationalize it as a win. But of course it is economical and you don’t want to see NG produced no matter what so you denounce the recycling.

            And likewise, if you’re opposed to NG development because recycling the water is uneconomical, then I suppose you don’t support the broad range of renewable energy sources that have been proven to be “technically possible but not economic”, at least without huge goverment subsidies.

          • Cliff posted, “Recycling frack water for a second or third well makes good sense but it’s not what I’m talking about. Eventually most of it gets injected down a disposal well.”

            Please provide evidence to support the assertion of your last sentence. withthe water recycled the remnants will be solids, uninjectable, that typically are taken to landfills that can accept industrial waste. Even if not, if your concern is injection disposal wells, simply advocate for the discontinuation of that practice and the adoption of the proven viable and more responsible alternatives. Basically, the waste issue is a non-issue.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *