May 02, 2024

Recycle, Reuse & Reduce Produced Water

Shale oil and gas extraction requires a significant amount of water, about 4 million gallons per well. During the process, high-salinity water is produced in large quantities, also known as “produced water.” It can range in salinity from brackish to saline to brine and includes other contaminants, making it challenging to reuse for potable consumption. As concern about water usage rises, there is a growing urgency to find sustainable methods to recycle, reuse, and reduce produced water.

What to do with produced water varies, depending on the nature of the shale play. In most basins, produced water is disposed of in salt-water disposal wells. However, in the Permian Basin this disposal method is being blamed for causing seismic activity. In January 2024, the Railroad Commission of Texas, the state’s oil and gas regulatory agency, suspended the use of 23 disposal wells in West Texas in an effort to reduce earthquakes in the region, according to the Texas Tribune.

In the water-rich Marcellus region, however, the majority of produced water is recycled and reused.

What makes the Marcellus region different from West Texas and other regions is the significant quantity of produced water generated in the initial stage of well development, which is required to be effective for reuse. According to a Chesapeake Energy report to the EPA, the Marcellus shale play produces “approximately 500,000 to 600,000 gallons of water per well in the first 10 days after completion. This volume is sufficient to provide approximately 10% to 15% of the total water needed to fracture a new well.”

Hydro-Recovery Recycling and Disposal of Production/Flowback water
In the Marcellus Basin, Hydro Recovery is a strategic partner of Keystone Clearwater Solutions and has been providing water treatment, recycling, and disposal services since 2008. Hydro Recovery has been a strategic partner of Keystone Clearwater Solutions since 2019.

At the facility in Burgettstown, Pa., inbound deliveries of production and flowback water are accepted and processed for reuse and recycling. By treating produced/flowback water, Hydro Recovery creates hydraulic stimulation fluid (HSF) for reuse in the extraction process. Recycling produced/flowback water significantly reduces the volume of freshwater withdrawn for the hydraulic fracturing process, benefitting the environment while contibuiting to more efficient American energy production.

Hydro Recovery provides the following services:

  • Reuse
    Customers with longer term contracts may both dispose of fluid and take away hydraulic stimulation fluid to reuse in shale oil and gas extraction operations.
  • Disposal
    Customers may choose to deliver production/flowback water directly to our facility and dispose of it for a fee. There is no storage commitment or obligation to take away any treated water.

In addition, Keystone Clearwater Solutions offers temporary produced water management solutions. Tanks and impoundments are available from 500 to 57,000 barrels. Service options include installation, monitoring, and operations, including transferring the water by truck or pipeline to a holding area.

Moving water forward
For more than a decade, Keystone Clearwater Solutions has provided solutions for safer, more efficient water transfer, water management, and environmental services. Our experienced workforce of more than 700 and full range of equipment and services, including WaterForce advanced automation serves the water management needs of oil and gas production in the Mid-Atlantic region and Texas, as well as municipal, industrial, and construction sectors.

Keystone Clearwater Solutions companies include strategic partner Hydro Recovery LP, our FieldForce Equipment Sales, Services, & Rental division, and strategic partner, Coral Reef Partners solar solutions.