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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Flowback and Produced Waters: Opportunities and Challenges for Innovation: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24620.
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FLOWBACK AND
PRODUCED WATERS

Opportunities and Challenges for Innovation

Proceedings of a Workshop

Ed J. Dunne, Rapporteur

Roundtable on Unconventional Hydrocarbon Development

Board on Earth Sciences and Resources

Water Science and Technology Board

Division on Earth and Life Studies

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, DC
www.nap.edu

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Flowback and Produced Waters: Opportunities and Challenges for Innovation: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24620.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001

This activity was supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation under grant no. G-2015-14016, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists Foundation, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement under contract no. E15PC00008, the Colorado School of Mines, The Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation, the Environmental Defense Fund, Flinders University, GE Oil and Gas, The Ohio State University, Schlumberger Limited, Texas A&M University, the U.S. Department of Energy under award no. DE-FE0027898, West Virginia University, and XTO Energy Inc. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for the project.

International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-45262-5
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-45262-7
Digital Object Identifier: 10.17226/24620

Additional copies of this publication are available for sale from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Keck 360, Washington, DC 20001; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313; http://www.nap.edu.

Copyright 2017 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

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Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Flowback and Produced Waters: Opportunities and Challenges for Innovation: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24620.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Flowback and Produced Waters: Opportunities and Challenges for Innovation: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24620.
×

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The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Lincoln, as a private, nongovernmental institution to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Dr. Marcia McNutt is president.

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Learn more about the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine at www.national-academies.org.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Flowback and Produced Waters: Opportunities and Challenges for Innovation: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24620.
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Reports document the evidence-based consensus of an authoring committee of experts. Reports typically include findings, conclusions, and recommendations based on information gathered by the committee and committee deliberations. Reports are peer reviewed and are approved by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Flowback and Produced Waters: Opportunities and Challenges for Innovation: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24620.
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PLANNING COMMITTEE FOR THE WORKSHOP ON FLOWBACK AND PRODUCED WATERS: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES FOR INNOVATION

STEVEN P. HAMBURG, Co-Chair, Environmental Defense Fund, Belmont, Massachusetts

KRIS J. NYGAARD, Co-Chair, ExxonMobil Upstream Research Co., Spring, Texas

BRIAN J. ANDERSON, West Virginia University, Morgantown

MELISSA BATUM, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, DC

SUSAN L. BRANTLEY (NAS), The Pennsylvania State University, University Park

AKHIL DATTA-GUPTA (NAE), Texas A&M University–College Station

JOE LIMA, Schlumberger Services, Inc., Denver, Colorado

DANIEL LIND, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, DC

JAN MARES, Resources for the Future, Washington, DC

ELENA S. MELCHERT, Office of Fossil Energy, U.S. Department of Energy, Washington, DC

BRIDGET R. SCANLON (NAE), Bureau of Economic Geology, The University of Texas at Austin

CRAIG SIMMONS, Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Staff

ELIZABETH A. EIDE, Director

ED J. DUNNE, Program Officer

CAMLY TRAN, Associate Program Officer

NICHOLAS D. ROGERS, Financial and Research Associate

COURTNEY R. GIBBS, Program Associate

ERIC J. EDKIN, Senior Program Assistant

BRENDAN R. McGOVERN, Senior Program Assistant

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Flowback and Produced Waters: Opportunities and Challenges for Innovation: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24620.
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BOARD ON EARTH SCIENCES AND RESOURCES

GENE WHITNEY, Chair, Congressional Research Service (Retired), Washington, DC

R. LYNDON (LYN) ARSCOTT, International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (Retired), Danville, California

CHRISTOPHER (SCOTT) CAMERON, GeoLogical Consulting, LLC, Houston, Texas

CAROL P. HARDEN, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

T. MARK HARRISON, University of California, Los Angeles

ANN S. MAEST, Buka Environmental, Boulder, Colorado

DAVID R. MAIDMENT, The University of Texas at Austin

M. MEGHAN MILLER, UNAVCO, Inc., Boulder, Colorado

ISABEL P. MONTAÑEZ, University of California, Davis

HENRY N. POLLACK, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

JAMES M. ROBERTSON, Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, Madison

JAMES SLUTZ, National Petroleum Council, Washington, DC

SHAOWEN WANG, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Staff

ELIZABETH A. EIDE, Director

ANNE M. LINN, Scholar

SAMMANTHA L. MAGSINO, Senior Program Officer

NICHOLAS D. ROGERS, Financial and Research Associate

YASMIN ROMITTI, Research Associate

COURTNEY R. GIBBS, Program Associate

ERIC J. EDKIN, Senior Program Assistant

RAYMOND CHAPPETTA, Program Assistant

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Flowback and Produced Waters: Opportunities and Challenges for Innovation: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24620.
×

WATER SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY BOARD

GEORGE M. HORNBERGER, Chair, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee

EDWARD J. BOUWER, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland

DAVID A. DZOMBAK, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

M. SIOBHAN FENNESSY, Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio

BEN GRUMBLES, Clean Water America Alliance, Washington, DC

ARTURO A. KELLER, University of California, Santa Barbara

CATHERINE L. KLING, Iowa State University, Ames

LARRY LARSON, Association of State Floodplain Managers, Madison, Wisconsin

DINAH LOUDA, Veolia Institute, Paris, France

STEPHEN POLASKY, University of Minnesota, St. Paul

JAMES W. ZIGLAR, SR., Van Ness Feldman, Washington, DC

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Staff

ELIZABETH A. EIDE, Acting Director

LAURA J. EHLERS, Senior Program Officer

STEPHANIE E. JOHNSON, Senior Program Officer

ED J. DUNNE, Program Officer

M. JEANNE AQUILINO, Financial and Administrative Associate

BRENDAN R. McGOVERN, Senior Program Assistant

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Flowback and Produced Waters: Opportunities and Challenges for Innovation: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24620.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Flowback and Produced Waters: Opportunities and Challenges for Innovation: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24620.
×

Acknowledgments

This Proceedings of a Workshop was reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published Proceedings of a Workshop as sound as possible and to ensure that the Proceedings of a Workshop meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this Proceedings of a Workshop:

Rosemary Capo, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Jean-Philippe Nicot, The University of Texas at Austin

Harry Zhang, Water Environment & Reuse Foundation, Alexandria, Virginia

Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they did not see the final draft of the Proceedings of a Workshop before its release. The review of this Proceedings of a Workshop was overseen by Barbara Schaal, Washington University, who was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this Proceedings of a Workshop was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this Proceedings of a Workshop rests entirely with the rapporteur and the institution.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Flowback and Produced Waters: Opportunities and Challenges for Innovation: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24620.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Flowback and Produced Waters: Opportunities and Challenges for Innovation: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24620.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Flowback and Produced Waters: Opportunities and Challenges for Innovation: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24620.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Flowback and Produced Waters: Opportunities and Challenges for Innovation: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24620.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Flowback and Produced Waters: Opportunities and Challenges for Innovation: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24620.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Flowback and Produced Waters: Opportunities and Challenges for Innovation: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24620.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Flowback and Produced Waters: Opportunities and Challenges for Innovation: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24620.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Flowback and Produced Waters: Opportunities and Challenges for Innovation: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24620.
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Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Flowback and Produced Waters: Opportunities and Challenges for Innovation: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24620.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Flowback and Produced Waters: Opportunities and Challenges for Innovation: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24620.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Flowback and Produced Waters: Opportunities and Challenges for Innovation: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24620.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Flowback and Produced Waters: Opportunities and Challenges for Innovation: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24620.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Flowback and Produced Waters: Opportunities and Challenges for Innovation: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24620.
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Produced water—water from underground formations that is brought to the surface during oil and gas production—is the greatest volume byproduct associated with oil and gas production. It is managed by some combination of underground injection, treatment and subsequent use, treatment and discharge, or evaporation, subject to compliance with state and federal regulations. Management of these waters is challenging not only for industry and regulators, but also for landowners and the public because of differences in the quality and quantity of produced water, varying infrastructure needs, costs, and environmental considerations associated with produced water disposal, storage, and transport.

Unconventional oil and gas development involves technologies that combine horizontal drilling with the practice of hydraulic fracturing. Hydraulic fracturing is a controlled, high-pressure injection of fluid and proppant into a well to generate fractures in the rock formation containing the oil or gas. After the hydraulic fracture procedure is completed, the injected fluid is allowed to flow back into the well, leaving the proppant in the newly created fractures. As a result, a portion of the injected water returns to the surface and this water is called “flowback water” which initially may mix with the naturally occurring produced water from the formation. The chemistry and volume of water returning to the surface from unconventional oil and gas operations thus changes during the lifetime of the well due to the amount of fluid used in the initial stage of well development, the amount of water naturally occurring in the geologic formation, the original water and rock chemistry, the type of hydrocarbon being produced, and the way in which production is conducted. The volume and composition of flowback and produced waters vary with geography, time, and site-specific factors.

A workshop was conducted by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to highlight the challenges and opportunities associated in managing produced water from unconventional hydrocarbon development, and particularly in the area of potential beneficial uses for these waters. This publication summarizes the presentations and discussions from the workshop.

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