Energy Resources Program
Thursday, July 16, 2015
USGS Publication: Open-File Report 2015-1117
The quantities of water and hydraulic fracturing proppant required for producing petroleum (oil, gas, and natural gas liquids) from continuous accumulations, and the quantities of water extracted during petroleum production, can be quantitatively assessed using a probabilistic approach.
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Press Release & Publication
The amount of water required to hydraulically fracture oil and gas wells varies widely across the country, according to the first national-scale analysis and map of hydraulic fracturing water usage detailed in a new USGS study accepted for publication in Water Resources Research, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.
Thursday, May 07, 2015
USGS Publication: Open-File Report 2015-1061
Reconnaissance field mapping and outcrop sampling for geochemical and mineralogical analyses indicate that the Middle Devonian Marcellus Shale in the Broadtop synclinorium and nearby areas from southeastern West Virginia to south-central Pennsylvania has an organic content sufficiently high and a thermal maturity sufficiently moderate to be considered for a shale gas play...
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
USGS News Release & Publications
Two new USGS publications that highlight historical hydraulic fracturing trends and data from 1947 to 2010 are now available. This national analysis of data on nearly 1 million hydraulically fractured wells and 1.8 million fracturing treatment records from 1947 through 2010 is used to identify hydraulic fracturing trends in drilling methods and use of proppants (sand or similar material suspended in water or other fluid to keep fissures open), treatment fluids, additives, and water in the United States.
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Outside Publication: AAPG Bulletin
The number of Marcellus Shale gas wells drilled in the Appalachian basin has increased rapidly over the past decade, leading to increased interest in the highly saline water produced with the natural gas which must be recycled, treated, or injected into deep disposal wells. New geochemical and isotopic analyses of produced water for 3 time-series and 13 grab samples from Marcellus Shale...
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
USGS Publication: Data Series 868
Comprehensive, published, and publicly available data regarding the extent, location, and character of hydraulic fracturing in the United States are scarce. The objective of this data series is to publish data related to hydraulic fracturing in the public domain. The spreadsheets released with this data series contain derivative datasets aggregated temporally and spatially from the commercial and proprietary IHS database of U.S. oil and gas production and well data (IHS Energy, 2011)...
USGS Publication: Scientific Investigations Report 2014-5131
Hydraulic fracturing is presently the primary stimulation technique for oil and gas production in low-permeability, unconventional reservoirs. Comprehensive, published, and publicly available information regarding the extent, location, and character of hydraulic fracturing in the United States is scarce...
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Outside Publication: International Journal of Coal Geology
Multivariate compositional data analysis methods were used to investigate geochemical data for water injected during hydraulic fracturing and for water produced from 19 Marcellus Shale gas wells in the northern Appalachian Basin.
Thursday, January 10, 2013
USGS releases new Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Hydraulic Fracturing ("Fracking"). A new Hydraulic Fracturing Website and Multimedia Gallery are also now online.
Hydraulic fracturing, informally referred to as “fracking,” is an oil and gas well development process that typically involves injecting water, sand, and chemicals under high pressure into a bedrock formation via the well. This process is intended to create new fractures in the rock as well as increase the size, extent, and connectivity of existing fractures. Hydraulic fracturing is a well-stimulation technique used commonly in low-permeability rocks like tight sandstone, shale, and some coal beds to increase oil and/or gas flow to a well from petroleum-bearing rock formations. A similar technique is used to create improved permeability in underground geothermal reservoirs.
The Energy Resources Program (ERP) continually updates its oil and gas resource assessments for the United States and the world that includes the USGS National Oil and Gas Assessment (NOGA). NOGA provides information for a number of uses, including the development of domestic energy policies and the formulation of reasonably foreseeable development scenarios and resource management plans for multiple Federal land- and resource-management agencies. Here are just a few basins that include unconventional gas (shale gas, tight gas and coal bed methane) associated with hydraulic fracturing:
Shale Gas preview from the National Oil and Gas Assessment (NOGA) interactive map.
Researchers in the Energy Resources Program and colleagues are also actively engaged in examining several aspects related to characterization, use, and impact of produced waters. From the Energy Resources Program fact sheet (Fact Sheet 2010–3100):
"Development and production of oil and gas resources can also require and yield significant quantities of water. Produced water and fluids used and recovered during hydrofracturing (hydrofracing) are likely to play an expanding role in energy resource considerations because treatment and disposal costs for produced and hydrofracing waters vary markedly. Also, the potential beneficial use of produced waters is an area of expanding interest, particularly in areas with limited water resources. The USGS conducts research to provide information on the volume, quality, impacts, and possible uses of water produced during oil, gas, and coalbed methane production and development in the United States."
>> Produced Waters Website
More research on hydraulic fracturing is underway by a number of USGS offices including the Energy Resources Program, Water Resources, Natural Hazards and Environmental Health. This includes a major study conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The USGS has a large role in a recent Memorandum of Agreement among the Department of the Interior, the Department of Energy, and the Environmental Protection Agency to improve our scientific understanding of the environmental issues related to unconventional oil and gas.
The accurate and unbiased scientific data provided by the U.S. Geological Survey are crucial to the Federal, and State resource managers to meet the challenge of balancing America’s needs for unconventional resources and a clean and healthy environment.
Energy Program Inquiries
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View full Hydraulic Fracturing Multimedia Collection
Introduction to Hydraulic Fracturing
Hydraulic Fracturing ("Fracking") FAQs
Earthquakes Induced by Fluid Injection FAQs
USGS Newsroom: What Happens to the Water? Assessing Water Quality in Areas with Hydraulically Fractured Oil and Gas Wells
Environmental Health website includes USGS studies in Toxic Substances Hydrology and Contaminant Biology
Landscape Consequences of Natural Gas Extraction: Effects of hydrocarbon extraction on landscapes of the Appalachian Basin
Estrogen and Androgen Receptor Activities of Hydraulic Fracturing Chemicals and Surface and Ground Water in a Drilling-Dense Region
Natural Research Council video on Energy Technologies and Manmade Earthquakes
Multi-Agency Collaboration on Unconventional Oil and Gas Research
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Study of Hydraulic Fracturing and Its Potential Impact on Drinking Water Resources
EPA, "Plan to Study the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing on Drinking Water Resources" (190 page PDF)
Department of the Interior (DOI) Press Release:
Obama Administration Announces New Partnership on Unconventional Natural Gas and Oil Research
Note: Includes link to recent Memorandum of Agreement among the Department of the Interior, the Department of Energy, and the Environmental Protection Agency to improve our scientific understanding of the environmental issues related to unconventional oil and gas.
USGS Scientific Investigations Report 2014-5131 (01/12/2015): Trends in Hydraulic Fracturing Distributions and Treatment Fluids, Additives, Proppants, and Water Volumes Applied to Wells Drilled in the United States from 1947 through 2010—Data Analysis and Comparison to the Literature
USGS Data Series 868 (01/12/2015): Data Regarding Hydraulic Fracturing Distributions and Treatment Fluids, Additives, Proppants, and Water Volumes Applied to Wells Drilled in the United States from 1947 through 2010
Water Resources Research Article (AGU Publication, 01/30/2015): What Happens to the Water? Assessing Water Quality in Areas with Hydraulically Fractured Oil and Gas Wells
Water quality of groundwater and stream base flow in the Marcellus Shale Gas Field of the Monongahela River Basin, West Virginia, 2011–12:
USGS Scientific Investigations Report 2014–5233
USGS National Geomagnetism Program (Oilfield Review, Autumn 2013): Geomagnetic Referencing–The Real-Time Compass for Directional Drillers
USGS Open-File Report 2013–1167 (9/4/2013): Dissolved Methane in Groundwater, Upper Delaware River Basin, Pennsylvania and New York, 2007–12
USGS Fact Sheet 2012-3049 (4/25/2013): Water Quality Studied in Areas of Unconventional Oil and Gas Development, Including Areas Where Hydraulic Fracturing Techniques are Used, in the United States
USGS Scientific Investigations Report 2012–5273 (1/9/2013): Shallow Groundwater Quality and Geochemistry in the Fayetteville Shale Gas-Production Area, North-Central Arkansas, 2011
USGS News Release (11/20/2012): Measuring Landscape Disturbance of Gas Exploration in Greene and Tioga Counties
USGS News Release (9/5/2012): Measuring Landscape Disturbance of Gas Exploration in Bradford and Washington Counties
Page Last Modified: Thursday, November 12, 2015