This time, H2O rises to the top

GTW Tackles Water Issues

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
For the first time, water issues will be the subject of an AAPG Geosciences Technology Workshop in February. Above, an idyllic pond flanks a natural gas site near Shreveport, La. Photo courtesy of Daniel Foster
For the first time, water issues will be the subject of an AAPG Geosciences Technology Workshop in February. Above, an idyllic pond flanks a natural gas site near Shreveport, La. Photo courtesy of Daniel Foster

A Geosciences Technology Workshop (GTW) coming in February marks a fresh direction for AAPG.

This time, the liquid it deals with won’t be oil.

The program, “Solving Water Problems in Oil and Gas Production: New Technologies for Cost Saving and New Revenue Flows,” is scheduled Feb. 26-27 in Fort Worth, Texas. The workshop is co-sponsored by the Division of Environmental Geoscientists and the Energy Minerals Division.

“This is the first time an AAPG Geosciences Technology Workshop has focused on water, and we’re doing so because it has become a ‘make or break’ issue in many operations, especially those involving hydraulic fracturing, and also production from unconventional reservoirs,” said Susan Nash, AAPG director of education and professional development.

The GTW also is the first of the program to focus on environmental and resource play issues, Nash said.

And it also will have a community relations component, another first, as Nash will speak on building alliances and trust at the grassroots level of community and industry relationships.

“With the shale boom, all kinds of people are looking for new opportunities,” said AAPG member Dan Arthur, who has helped in planning the conference and will be among the presenters in Fort Worth.

Companies with water treatment technologies used for local governments or other industries may find attractive opportunities to apply their knowledge in exploration, he said.

Some of the “make or break” issues to be explored during the meeting include:

  • Is there sufficient water for adequate well stimulation, especially with multi-stage, multi-lateral hydraulic fracturing?
  • How can we minimize water usage during drilling, stimulation and production?
  • Where is the water obtained? Does getting the water cause a problem during droughts (ponds, streams, rivers, aquifers)?
  • What do we do with the hydraulic fracturing fluid flowback? Can we economically treat it? Reuse it?
  • What do we do with the produced water? Can we economically treat it? Reuse it? Treat it to the point of discharging it into the environment?
  • How can we avoid injecting so much produced water? What kinds of technology are available right now?

The GTW also will look at emerging opportunities and new regulations.

"We will have discussions by regulators about new directions and the reasons for new regulations, especially in those states with active shale plays," Nash said.

"With all the issues involved, we have no choice except strategically thinking and planning,” Arthur added. “That's what the conference is about, and all those things are key to what AAPG is.”

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