New Study: Conventional Gas Wells Produce 3X Wastewater as Shale

Let’s frame this up so you have a proper understanding for the source of this information: A postdoctoral research associate dude at Duke University (a really smart student) teamed up with another smart student getting her master’s degree in environmental management at Duke, to study how much wastewater is produced by both conventional (or traditional) natural gas wells and unconventional horizontally-drilled shale wells in Pennsylvania. In essence they researched and wrote a term paper on the topic which will be published in the February issue of the journal Water Resources Research (see below). The postdoctoral dude has since left Duke and is now an assistant professor of biogeochemistry at Kent State. Hence, we have a “new study issued by Kent State and Duke University.” We’re not denigrating their accomplishments! Just giving you a proper understanding for how these “studies” are sometimes researched and how they’re reported about in the media.

Anywho, the research from our two intrepid students shows that overall, because there are so many shale wells in PA, and because it takes a lot more water to frack a shale well than a conventional well, that (surprise!) shale wells produce more wastewater that conventional wells. The interesting aspect of their research–the finding that is worthy of putting their names in academic lights over–is that per unit of gas recovered, shale wells produce only 1/3 as much wastewater as conventional wells. Let’s put this startling discovery another way: If irrational anti-drillers banned all horizontal fracking of shale wells tomorrow in PA (whoops, the PA Democrat Party is trying to do just that!), and we went back to the days of only mining gas by conventional wells, in order to produce as much gas as we now produce today, we would produce three times as much wastewater to get it from conventional wells. We’d also have to sink way more holes in the ground to get it…

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