The One Part of the Marcellus/Utica Industry Still Booming

There’s one part of the Marcellus/Utica shale industry that is still booming–and will continue to boom as long as the wells drilled flow oil and gas. What it is? Wastewater injection wells. Sometimes called SWDs, or salt water disposal wells. How can that be? If rigs are being laid down and fracking is vastly reduced–even ceased–how is there any wastewater to dispose of? Good question young padawan. Flowback is the water coming out of the hole right after fracking. But long after flowback is done, a well will still bring up what is called produced water–water from the depths that is very salty with minerals. Hence, salt water disposal wells. As long as wells are producing and not shut in, they produce varying amounts of produced water. Until now, drillers in the Marcellus would typically recycle the produced water and use it for fracking the next well. If they aren’t fracking, what do they do with all of that produced water? It must go to an SWD well. A company called Sourcewater has cooked up a clever service, an online exchange where SWD operators can list their wells and drillers who need to find new places to dispose of their produced water can find someone to take it…

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