A new report by researchers at Duke and Kent State universities takes a close look at the wastewater produced in Marcellus Shale gas well drilling. The paper, titled “Generation, transport, and disposal of wastewater associated with Marcellus Shale gas development,” appears in the January issue of the journal Water Resources Research. MDN was not able to score a copy of the full article and so must rely on the abstract and the press release (below) to describe it’s findings. However, from what we’ve read, it appears to be a careful, balanced and scientific look at the issue of drilling wastewater.
What did the researchers find? Shale wells produce about 10 times more wastewater than conventionally drilled wells, but they produce 30 times more natural gas. That is, shale wells are far more efficient and produce less wastewater per amount of gas produced than conventional wells. However, there are so darned many shale wells (in the Marcellus and other shale plays), the sheer volume of wastewater threatens to overwhelm the ability to deal with it.