Northeastern (46th Annual) and North-Central (45th Annual) Joint Meeting (20–22 March 2011)
Paper No. 16-1
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM-1:45 PM


YOXTHEIMER, David A., Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research, Penn State, 320 Earth and Engineeering Sciences Building, University Park, PA 16802,

The development of natural gas from unconventional shale reservoirs, including the Marcellus shale, are becoming a major source of energy both in North America and globally. Natural gas’s relative abundance and lower greenhouse gas emissions make it attractive as the world seeks cleaner sources of fuel. These unconventional natural gas shale plays require large volumes of water in order to hydraulically fracture the relatively impermeable shale to release the gas in economic volumes. As Marcellus and other shale gas plays grow, careful water management practices will become even more critical to ensure adequate water resources are available for shale gas development while protecting stream flow and water quality. A portfolio of water supply options shall be considered, including surface water intakes, groundwater sources, public water supplies, reused flowback water, and alternative water sources such as abandoned mine drainage and municipal wastewater among others.

Flowback water produced from the formation after hydraulic fracturing operations can require significant treatment for either reuse or disposal. Limited disposal options exist as discharge into receiving waters require advanced treatment which can be expensive, while there are few suitable underground injection reservoirs in proximity to the Marcellus. Innovative water resource management options must be utilized to allow operators to meet their natural gas development objectives in a cost-effective manner while also being protective of valuable surface water and groundwater resources to prevent adverse water resource impacts. Sourcing of water must consider cost, water quality, and perennial availability to ensure that an operator has an uninterruptable supply of water of sufficient quality at low cost to maximize gas production. At the same time environmentally proactive practices must be utilized to ensure water sourcing and disposal options do not cause undue adverse impacts to water resource quality or quantity.

Northeastern (46th Annual) and North-Central (45th Annual) Joint Meeting (20–22 March 2011)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 16
Marcellus—Production and Disposal of Produced Water
Omni William Penn Hotel: Conference A
1:30 PM-5:30 PM, Sunday, 20 March 2011

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 43, No. 1, p. 75

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