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Environ Sci Technol. 2013 May 7;47(9):4918-25. doi: 10.1021/es4000593. Epub 2013 Apr 5.

State-scale perspective on water use and production associated with oil and gas operations, Oklahoma, U.S.

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Oklahoma Geological Survey, The University of Oklahoma, 100 East Boyd Street Norman, Oklahoma 73019-0628, USA.


A common goal of water and energy management is to maximize the supply of one while minimizing the use of the other, so it is important to understand the relationship between water use and energy production. A larger proportion of horizontal wells and an increasing number of hydraulically fractured well bores are being completed in the United States, and consequently increasing water demand by oil and gas operations. Management, planning, and regulatory decisions for water, oil, and gas are largely made at the state-level; therefore, it is necessary to aggregate water use and energy production data at the state-scale. The purpose of this paper is to quantify annual volumes of water used for completion of oil and gas wells, coproduced during oil and gas production, injected via underground injection program wells, and used in water flooding operations. Data from well completion reports, and tax commission records were synthesized to arrive at these estimates for Oklahoma. Hydraulic fracturing required a median fluid volume of 11,350 m(3) per horizontal well in Oklahoma. Median fluid volume (~15,774 m(3)) and volume per perforated interval (15.73 m(3) m(-1)) were highest for Woodford Shale horizontal wells. State-scale annual water use for oil and gas well completions was estimated to be up to 16.3 Mm(3) in 2011 or less than 1% of statewide freshwater use. Statewide annual produced water volumes ranged from 128.5 to 146.6 Mm(3), with gas wells yielding an estimated 72.4% of the total coproduced water. Volumes of water injected into underground injection control program wells ranged from 206.8 to 305.4 Mm(3), which indicates that water flooding operations may use up to 167.0 Mm(3) per year. State-scale water use estimates for Oklahoma could be improved by requiring oil and gas operators to supplement well completion reports with water use and water production data. Reporting of oil and gas production data by well using a unique identifier (i.e., API number) would also allow for refinement of produced water quantity information. Reporting of wastewater disposal and water flooding volumes could be used to further develop state-scale water accounting and best management practices.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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