Recycling Produced Water in Hydraulic Fracturing: A Comprehensive Analysis of its Impact on the Formations of the Appalachian Basin



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Environmental interest, regulation changes, and costs have motivated the oil and gas industry to begin recycling produced water in high concentrations during new well stimulation. Accordingly, the potential impact of this practice on production should be investigated. In this thesis paper, tests were conducted to determine whether Marcellus produced water would cause incompatibilities in the Utica and Point Pleasant formations. A multivariate statistical analysis was then completed using a historical dataset of over 300 Marcellus wells to measure the effect of produced water used in stimulation had on well production. The results indicate that recycling produced water in high proportions, even from the Marcellus, should have no measurable impact on the productivity of Utica and Point Pleasant wells. This conclusion supports the use of recycled water not only to comply with regulations and address environmental concerns, but also as a method to reduce water management costs by at least 40 percent.



Marcellus shale, Produced water, Utica shale, Water recycling, Hydraulic fractures


Portions of this document were initiated as part of the following article. They were entirely restructured during the course of completing this paper. Woodward, Frederick Beauregard, Bernie E. Schulmeister, Chad Caldwell, Ryan Seeman, and Ronald S. Hudson. "Chemical Compatibility of Mixing Utica and Marcellus Produced Waters: Not All Waters Are Created Equal-A Case Study." In SPE Hydraulic Fracturing Technology Conference. Society of Petroleum Engineers, 2015.