Energy News | Water solutions reached in Haynesville Shale play

GaryHansonAbout a year ago, Haynesville Shale Expo speaker Gary Hanson talked about the problems ahead for water resource management in wake of the explosion of the shale play.

On Friday, Hanson talked about solutions that have been reached. “There’s been a paradigm shift in the past few months in how the industry looks at water and it started here.”

Hanson’s PowerPoint presentation — one of four during afternoon breakout sessions in the second annual expo — drew a moderate crowd. The director of the LSU-Shreveport Red River Watershed Management Institute shared how important water is to the shale development.

Up to 7 million gallons can be used to stimulate the deep natural gas deposit, and that demand put the industry into competition with residential and commercial users. “A water market has developed in the Haynesville Shale,” Hanson said.

But the push was on to make sure the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer, a poorly defined underground water source that serves most of northwest Louisiana, was not the companies’ only option. During the past year, lakes, rivers and private ponds have emerged as primary sources, with private pond building becoming a popular alternative. Recycled and treated wastewater are emerging as other potential sources.

And permits are being issued on a regular basis by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to companies that choose to pump water out of the Red River. Hanson complimented the oil and gas companies for taking heed of the water worries and implementing programs focused on surface water sources.

Chesapeake Energy, for example, uses 95 percent surface water in its drilling operations, and Petrohawk has utilized 100 percent surface water with its rigs this year.

“They made it a strict policy,” he said of Petrohawk. Exco Resources and EnCana Oil & Gas (USA) also were singled out. Some companies pressured each other to “do the right thing.”

“The companies are working well with us and they are working well together. “» We needed that credibility with the public,” Hanson said.

by Vickie Wellborn, Shreveport Times

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