Fracking, the phenomenon that has completely revolutionized the world of oil and gas, gets talked about quite a bit around here, and for good reason.
The process, more technically known as hydraulic fracturing, has been a major boost to the economies of the U.S. and Canada. Some would say it even saved the U.S. from certain economic collapse, and it could do the same for many other countries, as well.
Fracking has been controversial since day one. Large amounts of water are blasted into the ground, along with other materials like sand and chemicals, in order to permeate through solid rock to break it up and release natural gas and oil.
It uses a tremendous amount of water. It’s a simple fact.
And that fact has many on the opposite side of the fence, causing a heated debate over fracking.
Companies have become “frack happy” over the years. Nowadays, 60 percent of all newly drilled wells will include fracking in their development.
But where’s all the water going to come from? It’s the most crucial part of the fracking process and the component that has been causing the most debate.
A lot of companies are turning to the vast river system here in the U.S. to solve their water issues.
The Antero Pipeline
To get a clear indication of where things are headed, all you have to do is look at a recent proposal by Antero Resources Inc.
Antero Resources is an independent energy company, headquartered in Denver, Colorado, that is involved in the exploration and production of U.S. unconventional resources.
The private company operates hundreds of natural gas wells and has properties located in the Appalachian Basin in West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
Its two primary operations are in the Marcellus and Utica Shale plays, where, according to the Antero website, it is currently operating 18 drilling rigs on 426,000 net acres.
Each well the company operates will use about 6 million gallons of water in its lifetime.
Right now, the company spends a boat load of money to transport water to its wells, but it has come up with a solution – one that could benefit others who may look to follow suit.
The company wants to spend $500 million on a pipeline that would connect to the Ohio River. Antero estimates that with this pipeline, it can save around $600,000 per well. However, just to break even on this venture, the company would have to frack close to 900 wells – it’s obviously got its hand in the cookie jar.
The pipeline would be 80 miles long and would carry water to Antero’s fracking well sites in Ohio and West Virginia.
Antero has already filed a permit with the Army Corps of Engineers, which has been partially approved. The Ohio River would become Antero’s main source of water, and the pipeline will have the capability to move as much as 4.8 million gallons of water from the river per day.
Now, I know you all are thinking that it’s A LOT of water, and it is. The environmentalists are sure to be all over this one – but the Ohio River is flourishing. The idea would never have been proposed if it couldn’t maintain healthy water levels.
Getting past the environmentalists won’t be an easy task, but once the facts are presented, Antero will have a hard argument in favor of it.
Our analysts have traveled the world over, dedicated to finding the best and most profitable investments in the global energy markets. All you have to do to join our Energy and Capital investment community is sign up for the daily newsletter below.
Fracking and Water
Fracking and water go hand in hand. Always have, always will. Since its inception way back in 1949, and with its recent technological breakthrough here in the states in the early 2000s, fracking has brought much more good than harm.
And the fracking movement has spread to almost every corner of the globe. Yes, a lot of water gets used, but water is not the problem – getting to the gas and oil is.
The Ohio River has copious amounts of water, but you can’t blame folks for questioning the loss of 4.8 million gallons of water per day. It’s the environmentalists’ job to ensure the health of American waterways.
But you also can’t place the blame solely on a proposed pipeline if water were to become an issue down the line. We experience droughts all the time, nature takes its course, and water elevation levels go up and down as the years pass by.
There are so many other factors that lead to a shock to our water systems.
You have to take into account the decade’s long overuse of land and water by ranchers, farmers, and a growing population that consumes water like it’s air. Cities get bigger every day, and so does our thirst for more water.
You can’t always blame the oil man. With the advent of fracking, he’s done a lot for our economy and way of life.
This new pipeline proposal by Antero is just one of many that will be coming to the forefront. It’s a tricky situation, dealing with this much water, and it’s one the entire industry is going to have to address. For now, it’s going to come from our lakes, rivers, and streams. It’s getting hauled in by tankers and trucks daily.
The best thing you can do now is wait and see how the issue progresses. How far will Antero get? We’ll have to wait and see.
One thing you can count on: we’ll be keeping a close eye on things for you.
If you liked this article, you may also enjoy: