via: Projects focus on water stewardship, CAPP, Postmedia, Feb. 28, 2013
When energy producer Encana was seeking water management strategies for its Two Island Lake hydraulic fracturing operations in British Columbia’s Horn River Basin, the primary goal was to have the least-possible impact on surface water.
“We were fortunate to identify the Debolt formation, a deep, non-potable aquifer containing saline water, unsuitable for human or agricultural use,” says Mike Forgo, Encana’s Vice-President of Business Services & Stakeholder Relations. “This type of formation is not available in many areas of B.C.”
The discovery led to a project with peer company Apache to design and build the Debolt Water Treatment Plant and develop the formation as a water source reservoir – the first of its kind in Canada.
It took a great deal of innovation and collaboration to tap this unique resource, but the effort brought a significant payoff. Some 98 per cent of water needed for both companies’ operations at Two Island Lake now comes from this saline source.
Combined with systems that allow for full recovery and re-use of fracturing fluids, the result is a development with minimal draw on surface water and a low environmental footprint.
The strategy that led to the Debolt find is helping to lower surface water use in other areas of the province. In the Montney play in northeastern B.C., Encana is currently developing a water-handling and distribution hub using subsurface water sources.
“We understand that unconventional resource development is water-intensive,” Mr. Forgo says. “Encana, and the oil and gas industry, is taking proactive steps to address concerns and produce in as responsible a manner as possible.”
THE TRUCK STOPS HERE
In keeping with its global objective, Shell Canada is constantly developing new technologies and processes to conserve water in all of its operations, and it is working with communities to address challenges and concerns.
When the company began operations west of Dawson Creek, B.C., the local community raised two issues: water use and truck traffic. Shell listened to the concerns of citizens and developed a water management strategy which focuses on recycling as well as a partnership with the City of Dawson Creek for a reclaimed water facility. This facility processes sewage waste water from the community that was formerly released into Dawson Creek.
A 48-kilometre pipeline from the plant transports the treated water to Shell’s operations in the Groundbirch gas field, where it is combined with recycled production water and used in the hydraulic fracturing process. The result is the virtual elimination of the use of surface water.
Piping the water is expected to eliminate three million kilometres of truck trips per year over the course of the gas field development, and reduce truck traffic, dustand noise in the local community.
Excess water from the plant can be used by the cityfor industrial or municipal purposes, such as cleaning roads and watering sports fields.
“This project is the direct result of collaboration and dialogue that led to an innovative solution to water conservation and community concerns,” says Stephen Doolan, spokesperson for Shell Canada. “Our ultimate goal is to virtually eliminate the need to withdraw water from the surrounding area.”
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