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TitleComparison of water chemistry of hydraulic-fracturing flowback water from two geological locations at the Duvernay Formation, Alberta, Canada
LicencePlease note the adoption of the Open Government Licence - Canada supersedes any previous licences.
AuthorReid, M S; Wang, X; Utting, NORCID logo; Jiang, CORCID logo
SourceGeological Survey of Canada, Open File 8852, 2021, 38 pages, Open Access logo Open Access
PublisherNatural Resources Canada
Documentopen file
Mediadigital; on-line
File formatpdf
NTS82P/11; 82P/12; 82P/13; 82P/14; 83F/09; 83F/10; 83F/11; 83F/12; 83F/13; 83F/14; 83F/15; 83F/16; 83K; 83N/01; 83N/02; 83N/03; 83N/04
AreaFox Creek; Three Hills
Lat/Long WENS-118.0000 -116.0000 55.2500 53.5000
Lat/Long WENS-114.0000 -113.0000 52.0000 51.5000
Subjectsfossil fuels; geochemistry; environmental geology; Science and Technology; Nature and Environment; Economics and Industry; petroleum resources; hydrocarbons; hydrocarbon recovery; hydraulic fracturing; groundwater pollution; water geochemistry; environmental impacts; well samples; waste management; trace metals; statistical analyses; isotopic studies; Duvernay Formation; Waste water
Illustrationslocation maps; tables; geochemical plots; bar graphs; time series; plots; diagrams
ProgramEnergy Geoscience Innovation and renewable energy - pore fluid implications
Released2021 12 21
We analyzed and compared the water chemistry between 17 Fox Creek region samples, each from a different well, and 23 Three Hills region samples from a single well. Overall, the two regions were similar in chemical composition but showed small differences in some lower abundance dissolved elements. Additionally, we investigated changes in water chemistry of FPW over time from a single well. The majority of water quality parameters and water chemistry remained constant over the 7-month sampling time. Major ion chemistry showed increasing concentrations of Ca and Mg, and a decreasing concentration of SO4. Several trace elements also showed small trends of both increasing and decreasing concentrations over time. There was a strong correlation between Ca and Mg concentrations in both the Fox Creek region samples and Three Hills region samples, which is an indication of the mixing of formation water. However, the correlation between B and Sr was different among two region samples, which is likely due to the delayed mixing of formation water with the fracturing fluids during the flowback at different time periods of post fracturing. Likewise, Fox Creek region samples showed correlations between concentrations of Cl and Ca, Na and Ca, and Na and Mg, but these correlations were not seen in the Three Hills region samples. Geochemical modeling demonstrates that there are potential scales formed in the flowback water, but most of the minerals are still in the dissolution state in the formation. Stable isotopic analysis confirmed the mixing of injection water and the formation water.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
Chemical characterization of hydraulic fracturing (HF) flowback and produced water (FPW) is important to the environmental sustainability of HF operations. In this work, we analysed and compared HF FPW samples from different well locations as well as FPW samples from a single well over time. The results provide vital information to assess the reusability of flowback water and guide treatment options. Additionally, this work has the potential to provide guidance on best practices for HF fluid additives for future reuse as well as provide a more complete understanding of FPW chemical makeup to guide treatment options. While reuse of FPW is desirable, it is not feasible in many operations. In these scenarios, transportation for offsite treatment or disposal increases the risk of an environmental spill of FPW. This work will provide data to aid clean-up efforts and determination of the environmental fate of FPW contaminants. Overall, this work will provide economic benefits to the oil and gas sector by increasing FPW reuse which decreases wastewater disposal costs and reduces environmental impacts of HF operations by decreasing the volume of used surface water and risk of FPW environmental spills.

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