Texas Railroad Commissioner, David Porter, recently announced that the Carrizo Wilcox aquifer in South Texas appears to contain enough water to support oil and gas drilling, including hydraulic fracturing in the Eagle Ford shale.
This revelation was in response to an Eagle Ford taskforce that was formed to dispel the myths that frac’ing is the reason for recent water shortages in Texas (and not the worst one year dry spell in Texas history!). The taskforce will continue to meet monthly to examine any water issues in South Texas.
“We will continue to study best practices for water management in the region to help mitigate any future issues,” Porter said.
The taskforce found that drilling and completions in the Eagle Ford account for 6% of water demand in South Texas. Irrigation accounts for 64% and municipal uses account for 17%.
The oil and gas industry also has reduced the volume of water used to frac Eagle Ford wells. Industry reports it now uses 11 acre-ft of water to complete the average Eagle Ford well, down from 15 acre-ft used 18 months ago, the taskforce reported.
Industry expects 2,600-2,800 wells/year will be completed in the Eagle Ford shale at peak demand, which translates into about 30,000 acre-ft of water/year during the heaviest point of development of the Eagle Ford shale. In 2008, the Carrizo Wilcox aquifer contained 540,000 acre-ft of available water.
Eagle Ford development peak demand is expected in the next 2 decades, industry spokesmen have said.
“I think industry needs to be commended for trying to reduce its footprint,” Porter said.