The City Council is also considering setting guidelines for the reuse or recycling of flowback water and produced water. This idea stems from water usage issues in places with unconventional plays, like Fort Worth, where each well uses 2-6 million gallons of water.
As mentioned previously, fracing in the Lubbock area requires significantly less water than an unconventional play because of the nature of the rock formations involved. The water used in Lubbock is less than 1% of that used in the Barnett Shale.
Flowback and produced water is already “recycled” in a sense in the Lubbock area. In short, when a field is first discovered, natural gas in the rock produces pressure forcing oil to move toward lower pressure areas. When a well is drilled, the resulting “hole” in the rock becomes the lowest pressure area. The gas in place is sufficient to move oil toward the well for a while, but eventually the pressure becomes depleted as gas is produced from the well, and oil production levels drop.
To counter this, Texland and other operators engage in a secondary recovery process called waterflooding. Texland injects water in the producing formation to replace the lost gas. The water sweeps through the reservoir rock, dislodging oil molecules stuck in the formation and moving them once again toward the wellbore.
When wells are produced, the fluid is a mixture of oil and water. The fluid is placed in a separator, with the oil moving to tanks for a later sale and water moving into our waterflood system. While not “recycled” in the sense of using frac fluid twice, all of the fluids used by Texland in Lubbock County frac jobs are already repurposed and reused. This also eliminates our need to haul away produced water, resulting in reduced truck traffic in the area.