By Rob Starr, Content Manager, Big4.com
“Water and shale gas development: leveraging the US experience in new shale developments”– identifies water as one of the key challenges that make the development of shale gas different from conventional gas.
The new report from Accenture (NYSE: ACN) looks at how countries with proven reserves, such as Argentina, China, Poland and South Africa, can leverage U.S. lessons and trends in water regulation, water use and management, and water movements to develop shale gas reserves economically and sustainably.
The report compares the water sourcing challenges in South Africa’s Karoo basin with Poland, and shows how different the flowback volumes and total dissolved solids (TDS) levels are across U.S. plays. Flowback is the injected fracture fluid mixed with the formation water containing dissolved minerals from the formation that flows back to the surface after fracking. Flowback water contains clays, chemical additives, dissolved metal ions and TDS.
It also points out that there will be increased focus on reducing the water intensity of production processes, and operators can achieve this by delivering efficiencies in operations, and by maximizing opportunities for end-to-end reuse of wastewater and water treatment. As the report notes, there are opportunities to work with treatment suppliers to gain leverage from new water treatment technologies.