Analysis: Fracking water's dirty little secret - recycling. Reuters Google it
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By Nichola Groom
LOS ANGELES | Mon Jul 15, 2013 6:26pm BST
(Reuters) - The oil and gas industry is finding that less is more in the push to recycle water used in hydraulic fracturing. Slightly dirty water, it seems, does just as good a job as crystal clear when it comes to making an oil or gas well work. Exploration and production companies are under pressure to reduce the amount of freshwater used in dry areas like Texas and to cut the high costs of hauling millions of barrels of water to oil and gas wells and later to underground disposal wells.
To attack those problems, oilfield service companies like Halliburton (HAL.N), Baker Hughes (BHI.N) and FTS International (FTS.N), are treating water from "fracked" wells just enough so that it can be used again. Smaller companies like Ecosphere Technologies Inc (ESPH.OB) have also deployed similar methods.
"It is a paradigm shift," Halliburton's strategic business manager of water solutions, Walter Dale, said.
Until recently, many companies considered recycling too expensive or worried that using anything other than freshwater would reduce well output.
But oil and gas companies are increasingly treating and reusing flowback water from wells, which unlike freshwater is very high in salt, with good results. The practice scales down the amount of freshwater used for fracking, but environmentalists say it does nothing to assuage concerns about groundwater contamination, and only facilitates the extraction of fossil fuels that produce climate-warming gases.
"It doesn't lessen the potential for groundwater contamination, and it can increase the amount of contaminants that you are exposing the groundwater to," said Myron Arnowitt, Pennsylvania director for Clean Water Action.
Halliburton and Exxon Mobil Inc's (XOM.N) XTO Energy earlier this year documented the use of Halliburton's H2OForward recycling service on XTO Energy wells ...