Is Hydraulic Fracturing a Threat for Drinking Water Resources?

Antonia Odagiu, Ioan Gheorghe Oroian, Tania Mihaiescu, Laura Paulette, Radu Mihaiesu, Andrei Fleseriu


The aim of this paper is to briefly emphasize the shale gas technology of extraction and because the important role of water within this process, the imperious need to preserve the water quality. If rigorous geological prospects indicate the presence of gas in shale, it is extracted using the hydraulic fracturing technology. The water delivered by tank trucks mixed with sand and additives is injected into a well, at near 1,500 m, under high pressure, from a pumper truck, through a probe (lined with several layers of steel and cements for protecting the groundwater of the fluids that are pumped through the probe and also of the natural gas that is released and collected inside the well). For obtaining gas from shale, holes are horizontally made in stainless steel and cement casing of the probe up to shale, and gas is extracted from the fractures with steel pipes. The reflux water is conducted to depuration stations in order to be cleaned and reused (about 10 - 30% is recycled). The residues (wastewater and solids) resulted from depuration process are stored in special facilities designed and built with aim of waste storage. Usually, such a well is productive for several decades. Complete exploitation of such facility needs about 10,000 - 20,000 m3 water. By comparison with other types of fuels, the ratio water volume used/unit of energy, is the lowest for shale gas production. The negative experiences worldwide, concerning environmental protection, with accent on water issue, must be taken into consideration if Romania would implement hydraulic fracturing technology in order to obtain shale gas, especially focused on total accomplishment of exploitation standards and regulations.


well, drill, groundwater, additives, depuration

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