In a conversation with T. Boone Pickens, OriginOil CEO Riggs Eckelberry showed how fracking is the “last gallon” in a very stressed water ecosystem, and how operators can get ahead of community issues by adopting recycling strategies, and saving money in the process.
2:51 Riggs Eckelberry: “As you may know, the Hoover Dam has been dropping down. This is just in one year.
“Here’s what it looks like—that’s June 16, 2013. And this is just one year later.”
Eckelberry: “What we have here is a 13-month drop and, of course, it’s from a low level already. So there’s clearly troubles with the Colorado watershed.
“And the Ogallala, as you know, is threatened as well, because there’s the big drought of 2012 and it has not been alleviated. We have parts of the Ogallala that are getting quite low and it is not recharging fast enough. So, groundwater is an issue in the West but also in the Midwest.
“Now, here’s the interesting slide, by Seres, where they show that so many of our fracking operations are in stressed environments. A stressed environment is one that already has 80% of the water being used for other uses, so it makes for competition. So fracking is competing in these various areas with other users and many of these areas, like the gray ones, are arid to start with.
“We also know that overall frac use is low. As a percentile, here’s Colorado, and it shows that hydraulic fracturing is 0.08% of total use; agriculture being the biggest at 85%.”
“Here’s the issue—and we see this in Texas—local stress can be very high. We have Karnes (TX) for example. 213% proportion of hydrofracking use to domestic. We have in Irine (TX), small population of course, but there almost 3,000%. So this can create local stresses, and why is this important? Well, these people live there, and they get concerned. Texas is pro-fracking, of course, but I think we have to be mindful of the stresses on the population.
“Here’s another one, where populations are growing in the arid regions. All these circled areas are major growth areas for population in the very same areas.”
“This is the point. If you have a growing population and stressed aquifers, fracking operators are under what I call a perfect storm. It’s a PR situation that they have to recognize, and our experience at OriginOil has been that operators would just rather it just go away. It’s not going to. I think we need to be proactive.
“So the good news is recycling, with a whole new generation of technologies like ours, is becoming chemical free and much more efficient. We can save on truck trips. There’s excess water that can be piped to farmers. This is happening in the Imperial Valley right now where Chevrette is piping water that’s not regulated Colorado water. And finally, there’s more and more waterless fracking which can do about a third of the job. And there’s savings available.
“Here’s a spreadsheet which you can get from our company, which depending on the scenario, you can save a lot of money on your water if you recycle. That’s a win-win.
Conclusion is, of course, we can dramatically mitigate the perceived impact of fracking on stressed water supplies with these active measures, and that’s my point.”
High-Speed Frack Water Cleanup
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