Tags: california | water | fracking

California Used 70 Million Gallons of Water in Fracking Last Year

Thursday, 02 Apr 2015 11:01 PM

California oil producers used 214 acre-feet of water, equivalent to nearly 70 million gallons, in the process of fracking for oil and gas in the state last year, less than previously projected, state officials told Reuters on Thursday.

The practice of fracking has been criticized in the state, which is suffering from a drought so severe that Governor Jerry Brown announced the first-ever mandatory 25 percent statewide reduction in water use on Wednesday.

Despite pressure from environmentalists, Brown has not called for a halt to fracking in the state, saying it is not a major drain on water supplies.

"Hydraulic fracturing uses a relatively small amount of water - the equivalent of 514 households annually" per well, said Steven Bohlen, the state oil and gas supervisor.

About 100,000 gallons of water is used on average per well, he said.

Previous industry estimates said that fracking used about 100 million gallons of water in California a year.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, occurs when water and some chemicals are injected deep underground at high pressure to break up rock and release oil and gas into wells.

Environmentalists argue that fracking is an unwise use of water, given the state's ongoing, multi-year drought. They also say it has the potential to contaminate fresh drinking water supplies.

Bohlen said that not all of the water used for fracking is fresh water. Some portion of it is "produced" water, or water that comes to the surface during oil drilling that is not suitable for drinking or agricultural use.

The industry brought 387,000 acre-feet of produced water to the surface last year, Bohlen said. Of that, two-thirds was put back into the aquifers from which it came or was used to produce more oil through drilling techniques including steam flooding and cyclic steam injection.

The remaining third was put into underground injection, evaporated in surface ponds, or cleaned up for beneficial use, he said.

About 25,000 acre-feet of produced water is used for beneficial use in the San Ardo, Cawelo, and Arvin water districts, he said.

A law passed last year requires oil producers to report the sources of water used in all oil and gas extraction as well as where the water goes.

The first data report is due April 31 and will be made public soon after, Bohlen said.

© 2017 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

 
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California oil producers used 214 acre-feet of water, equivalent to nearly 70 million gallons, in the process of fracking for oil and gas in the state last year, less than previously projected, state officials told Reuters on Thursday.
california, water, fracking
385
2015-01-02
Thursday, 02 Apr 2015 11:01 PM
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