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TitleCritical metals in hydraulic fracturing flowback and produced water from the Montney and Duvernay formations, WCSB
AuthorJiang, CORCID logo; Wang, X; Utting, NORCID logo; Hobbs, T; Kolbeck, C
SourceGeoConvention 2021; 2021 p. 1-3 Open Access logo Open Access
LinksOnline - En ligne (PDF, 417 KB)
Alt SeriesNatural Resources Canada, Contribution Series 20210161
PublisherGeoConvention Partnership
MeetingGeoConvention 2021; September 13-15, 2021
DocumentWeb site
Mediaon-line; digital
File formatpdf
ProvinceAlberta; British Columbia
NTS82P/12; 82P/13; 83F; 93P
AreaThree Hills; Fox Creek; Dawson Creek
Lat/Long WENS-114.0000 -113.5000 52.0000 51.5000
Lat/Long WENS-118.0000 -116.0000 54.0000 53.0000
Lat/Long WENS-122.0000 -120.0000 56.0000 55.0000
Subjectsfossil fuels; economic geology; geochemistry; Economics and Industry; Science and Technology; petroleum industry; hydrocarbon recovery; hydraulic fracturing; gas wells; oil wells; mineral potential; mineral occurrences; metals; lithium; magnesium; formation water; salinity; total dissolved solids; spectrometric analyses; Montney Formation; Duvernay Formation; Western Canada Sedimentary Basin; Phanerozoic; Mesozoic; Triassic; Paleozoic; Devonian
Illustrationsplots; bar graphs
ProgramGeoscience for New Energy Supply (GNES) Canadian Energy Geoscience Innovation Cluster (CEGIC)
Released2021 09 01
Critical metals such as lithium (Li) and magnesium (Mg) are either currently (for the former) or will likely be (for the later; Deivanayagam et al., 2019) widely used in making batteries for energy storage - a requirement for the transition to a future low carbon economy. Global Li production primarily comes from brines and a certain amount of Mg is currently being produced from seawater. One source of brine is the produced water from oil and gas wells. Hydraulic fracturing operations in the Devonian Duvernay and the Triassic Montney formations in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin (WCSB) produce large volumes of high salinity water from most of the stimulated wells during their flowback and production stages. With a total dissolved solids (TDS) content up to 280 g/L, the hydraulic fracturing flowback and produced (HFFP) water was found to contain up to 70 mg/L of Li and as much as 2700 mg/L of Mg although the majority of the dissolved minerals are in the forms of sodium and calcium chlorides. Compared with commercial brines and seawater in terms of their Li and Mg contents and considering its availability and environmental benefit and impact, HFFP water from the Duvernay and Montney unconventional hydrocarbon resources operations in WCSB can be a potential source for these critical metals/minerals with significant economic value if proper extraction technologies are developed and applied.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
Lithium (Li) and magnesium (Mg) are two metals important to making batteries for energy storage. Li is mostly produced from Li-rich brines and some Mg is currently being produced from seawater. One type of brine is the water from oil and gas producing wells. Unconventional shale oil/gas production in basins located in Alberta and British Columbia produce large volumes of saline water from the horizontal wells called flowback water. With a total dissolved salt content of up to 280 g/L, the flowback water was found to contain up to 70 mg/L of Li and 2700 mg/L of Mg. Compared with commercial brines and seawater, flowback water from the Alberta basin appears to be a potential source for these critical metals, and can therefore add significant economic value to the industrial activities.

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