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Chart of the month

No two unconventional basins are alike when it comes to source water use.

This month’s chart comes from FracFocus and shows the average water volumes required to hydraulically fracture a well in each of the US’ main unconventional plays.

At nearly 400,000 bbls, Haynesville has the highest source water use per well in the country, followed by the Marcellus and Utica plays which together are referred to as Appalachia. Unsurprisingly, the Permian Basin also has high per well water use, with averages for both the Delaware and Midland sub-basins above 315,000 bbls. At an average of less than 65,000 bbls, Barnett has the smallest per well water intensity.

These figures demonstrate the variation in operational approaches and source water needs across US unconventional plays. Together with other considerations, such as drilling activity levels and produced water volumes, it is clear that the water midstream sector cannot progress uniformly across geography. Instead, it must develop in order to address the very unique needs of different regions.

FracFocus is the US’ national hydraulic fracturing chemical registry. The registry collects information on the makeup of hydraulic fracturing fluid for operators in 26 states.

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