"Unconventional oil and gas exploration in the United States has experienced a period of rapid growth, followed by several years of limited production due to falling and low natural gas and oil prices. Throughout this transition, the water use for hydraulic fracturing and wastewater production in major shale gas and oil production regions has increased; from 2011 to 2016, the water use per well increased up to 770%, while flowback and produced water volumes generated within the first year of production increased up to 1440%. The water-use intensity (that is, normalized to the energy production) increased ubiquitously in all U.S. shale basins during this transition period. The steady increase of the water footprint of hydraulic fracturing with time implies that future unconventional oil and gas operations will require larger volumes of water for hydraulic fracturing, which will result in larger produced oil and gas wastewater volumes."

The study found that shale gas has lower water use than coal when measured by the amount of water used to produce a unit of energy. Coal requires on average 43 liters of water per gigajoule, while extraction in the Marcellus formation used about 10 l/GJ. But water use for fracking is rising.


"the water footprint of fossil fuel exploration and electricity production has been projected to have major environmental impacts. It has been estimated that global water withdrawal for energy production constitutes 15% of the world’s total water consumption

The salts, toxic elements, organic matter, and naturally occurring radioactive material in the FP [flowback and produced] water pose contamination risks to local ecosystems from spills and mismanagement

For the first time, this study presents systematic temporal data on water use, unconventional shale gas and tight oil production rates, and volume of FP water from major shale-producing regions in the United States. In addition, we combine several databases to estimate the efficiency of production from both hydrocarbons and water perspective on a year-by-year basis, showing that the water footprint of hydraulic fracturing has been steadily increasing through time"


The intensification of the water footprint of hydraulic fracturing
Andrew J. Kondash, Nancy E. Lauer and Avner Vengosh, Science Advances journal


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Finally a positive post. Shale gas water use for power consumption is less than coal and we get all the other products other than used for power production and no billions of tons of coal ash sitting around leaching out heavy metals and other toxins.  Thank you Paul for this positive info

great news.glad to see paul  finally see how good this is for our country all the way around. MAGA. 

And all the fountains in Las Vegas.

hope this gets paul to get out there in nov. and vote republican. things are going great with trumps policies.greatest president EVER!!!!MAGA

Come on, Paul is being positive now.  Paul’s old friends are rejoicing over Trumps steel tariffs raising the oil field steel prices hoping it will stunt developement.  They may want to vote for him next time too.

You guys all beat me to it with the comparisons to alternative water uses like golf courses, etc.

Don't overlook the Banana Equivalent Dose (BED) when ol' Paul and his buddies raise the canard of radioactive horrors emanating from the depths.

Thanks a bunch Paul - and to all the enlightened commentators above - for recognizing that we are on the cusp of a cleaner, more prosperous future for our families due largely to unconventional hydrocarbon development.


This research is receiving more coverage:

Water Use for Fracking and Toxic Wastewater Created Has Skyrocketed, Study Finds

"Their models showed that if current low oil and gas prices rise and production again reaches levels seen during fracking’s heyday in the early 2010s, cumulative water use and wastewater volumes could surge by up to 50-fold in unconventional gas-producing regions by 2030 ...

Vital drinking water reserves are being threatened. In areas where climate change is already causing fresh water sources to dry up, fracking is yet another competitor for the resource."


I don't know....maybe these 'models' were put together by Al Gore's team. We all know how accurate they were.


I just received a shipment of a dozen red MAGA hats.

Got a mailing address that I can send you a few?

Regardless, the water problem is a major cost and hassle problem for hydraulic fracturing. Anything that can be done to reduce water consumption would seriously help the bottom line. Reducing water consumption is in everyone's interest. I would be interested in reading more about water-less fracking, water use reduction techniques, water recycling, especially on-site recycling, that would reduce truck traffic.


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