Research ArticleENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES

The intensification of the water footprint of hydraulic fracturing

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Science Advances  15 Aug 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 8, eaar5982
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aar5982
  • Fig. 1 Map of water stress and shale plays.

    (A) Map showing the global water stress overlaid with shale formations across the world. (B) Water stress and shale regions in the United States examined in this study (5, 10).

  • Fig. 2 Box plots of water use with lateral lengths.

    Water use per well data (cubic meter per well; left y axis) for shale gas (top row) and tight oil regions (bottom row) with median lateral lengths per well (meter per well; right y axis) for each region plotted as colored lines. The central line of each box is the median, while the top and bottom of each box represent the third and first quartile, respectively. Whiskers on the box plot represent maximum and minimum values, while circles above the box plots show outliers in the data. Whiskers on the colored lateral length lines show the 95% bootstrap confidence intervals.

  • Fig. 3 Oil, gas, and FP water variations with time.

    Annual shale gas (A), tight oil (C), and FP water (B and D) productions in shale gas–producing regions (A and B) and oil-producing regions (C and D). Whiskers on the bar graphs represent 95% bootstrap confidence intervals (table S1).

  • Fig. 4 The changes in the water intensity of hydraulic fracturing with time.

    Water-use intensity variations with time for hydraulic fracturing of shale gas (A) and tight oil (C) regions and corresponding FP water/water use ratios in shale gas (B) and tight oil (D) regions. Water-use intensity is defined as the amount of water required to generate a unit of energy. (A) and (B) show the water-use intensity for shale gas–producing regions, while (C) and (D) show water-use intensity for unconventional oil-producing regions. Whiskers represent 95% bootstrap confidence intervals.

  • Fig. 5 New shale gas and tight oil well installations compared to oil and gas prices.

    Variations of installed well counts (left y axis) and gas and oil prices (right y axis) with time for shale gas–producing regions plotted with corresponding natural gas citygate price (top) and for oil-producing regions with corresponding crude oil price (bottom). The data show the number of new well installations corresponding closely with the contemporary gas and oil prices. MCF, thousand cubic feet; BBL, barrel.

Supplementary Materials

  • Supplementary material for this article is available at http://advances.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/4/8/eaar5982/DC1

    Fig. S1. Cumulative production comparison.

    Fig. S2. Volumetric water-use intensity.

    Fig. S3. Total water use for hydraulic fracturing.

    Fig. S4. Water-use intensity for other energy-producing materials.

    Fig. S5. Projected water use for future hydraulic fracturing operations in the United States.

    Fig. S6. Projected first year FP water derived from future hydraulic fracturing operations in the United States.

    Table S1. Production volumes in unconventional gas-producing formations.

    Table S2. Production volumes in unconventional oil-producing formations.

    Table S3. Example calculation for future production estimate, business-as-usual scenario.

    Table S4. Example calculation for future production estimate, future growth scenario.

  • Supplementary Materials

    This PDF file includes:

    • Fig. S1. Cumulative production comparison.
    • Fig. S2. Volumetric water-use intensity.
    • Fig. S3. Total water use for hydraulic fracturing.
    • Fig. S4. Water-use intensity for other energy-producing materials.
    • Fig. S5. Projected water use for future hydraulic fracturing operations in the United States.
    • Fig. S6. Projected first year FP water derived from future hydraulic fracturing operations in the United States.
    • Table S1. Production volumes in unconventional gas-producing formations.
    • Table S2. Production volumes in unconventional oil-producing formations.
    • Table S3. Example calculation for future production estimate, business-as-usual scenario.
    • Table S4. Example calculation for future production estimate, future growth scenario.

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    Correction (17 May 2019): The authors addressed new data that enriches the analysis of the work. The corrections do not impact the conclusions of the paper.

    The original version is accessible here.

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