Oil and natural gas have been the main sources of primary energy in the USA, providing 63% of the total energy consumption in 2011. Petroleum production, drilling operations, and improperly sealed abandoned wells have caused significant local groundwater contamination in many states, including at the USGS OSPER sites in Oklahoma. The potential for groundwater contamination is higher when producing natural gas and oil from unconventional sources of energy, including shale and tight sandstones. These reservoirs require horizontally-completed wells and massive hydraulic fracturing that injects large volumes (up to 50,000 m3/well) of high-pressured water with added proppant, and toxic organic and inorganic chemicals. Recent results show that flow back and produced waters from Haynesville (Texas) and Marcellus (Pennsylvania) Shale have high salinities (≥200,000 mg/L TDS) and high NORMs (up to 10,000 picocuries/L) concentrations. A major research effort is needed worldwide to minimize all potential environmental impacts, especially groundwater contamination and induced seismicity, when producing these extremely important new sources of energy.
|Title||The energy-water nexus: Potential groundwater-quality degradation associated with production of shale gas|
|Authors||Yousif K. Kharaka, James J. Thordsen, Christopher H. Conaway, Randal B. Thomas|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Procedia Earth and Planetary Science|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Branch of Regional Research-Western Region|