Chesapeake utilizes a variety of water sources in deep shale gas exploration including rivers, creeks, lakes, discharge water from industrial or city wastewater treatment plants, groundwater and the reuse of produced water. We often work directly with local officials to arrange water purchases from a municipality when drilling inside city limits or rural water systems in rural areas. This water is typically transported via temporary pipelines or trucked to drilling locations for storage prior to use in tanks or impoundments. The overall combination of water sources used depends on the region and the availability of sources near drilling sites.
The volume of water necessary to drill and hydraulically fracture deep shale gas and tight oil wells represents a very small percentage of the total water resources used in each geographic region where shale gas is found.
The largest water users are municipalities (public water supplies), power generation, industrial users and agriculture. However, the consumption of these users varies widely from region to region. For example, in
the Barnett Shale area of Texas, municipal uses account for more than 80% of water use, with agriculture accounting for about 8%.
the Marcellus Shale area of the Appalachian Basin, power generation accounts for more than 70% of water consumption, while agriculture accounts for approximately one tenth of one percent (0.1%).
Water used in Chesapeake deep shale gas and oil exploration differs most notably from all other uses because it is temporary in nature, occurring only once during the drilling and completion phases of each well. Drilling a typical Chesapeake deep shale gas and oil well requires less than 1 million gallons of water, while hydraulic fracturing activities that occur in the completion phase of a well require an additional average of 3 to 6 million gallons per well.
The 5 million gallons of water needed to drill and fracture a Chesapeake well is equivalent to the amount of water consumed by: