Accenture Report Shows Lessons Learned in Water Management from U.S. Shale
Research identifies key challenges countries and oil and gas operators need to
address when developing shale gas resources
LONDON -- December 10, 2012
Countries and operators that are embarking on the global development of shale
gas resources can benefit from the United States’ experience in water
management from shale gas operations, according to a new report from Accenture
The report – “Water and shale gas development: leveraging the US experience in
new shale developments” – identifies water as one of the key challenges that
make the development of shale gas different from conventional gas.
The research looks at how countries with proven reserves, such as Argentina,
China, Poland and South Africa, can leverage U.S. lessons and trends in water
regulation, water use and management, and water movements to develop shale gas
reserves economically and sustainably.
The report also identifies implications of shale gas development for oil and
gas companies and highlights areas in which these operators should aim to
build their capabilities to succeed in the current operating landscape.
“Successful oil and gas operators will be those that understand the local
water challenges, leverage the learnings from the U.S. plays and develop the
right water sourcing, use/reuse, treatment, disposal and supply chain
strategy,” said Melissa Stark, managing director and Clean Energy lead for
Accenture's energy industry group. “One key opportunity for new geographies
where infrastructure is a challenge is to explore sharing the development of
infrastructure, water treatment facilities and the development of the local
The report emphasizes that countries will have different issues, options and
solutions to the water challenges depending on the geology of the shale and
the particular regional characteristics.
For example, the report compares the water sourcing challenges in South
Africa’s Karoo basin with Poland, and shows how different the flowback volumes
and total dissolved solids (TDS) levels are across U.S. plays. Flowback is the
injected fracture fluid mixed with the formation water containing dissolved
minerals from the formation that flows back to the surface after fracking.
Flowback water contains clays, chemical additives, dissolved metal ions and
The report also emphasizes that in this constantly evolving landscape, water
management options can change and that proactive engagement with operators in
developing regulation will help the implementation of effective solutions and
reduce the cost of compliance.
One area that provides immediate opportunities for some operators is
logistics, according to the report. Implementing a logistics operating model
that addresses the water movement challenges will improve congestion,
efficiency and reporting of water movements. In some new markets, there are
opportunities to design “for the basin” and even to share excess capacity and
infrastructure, such as water treatment facilities.
The report points out that there will be increased focus on reducing the water
intensity of production processes, and operators can achieve this by
delivering efficiencies in operations, and by maximizing opportunities for
end-to-end reuse of wastewater and water treatment. As the report notes, there
are opportunities to work with treatment suppliers to gain leverage from new
water treatment technologies.
Operators will also need to carefully assess the increased requirements for
data on the flows of all materials throughout the life cycle of shale gas
operations. Capturing, storing and reporting this data will require a new
level of data management for operators – as well as regulators -- to
effectively use the data to support environmental impact assessments.
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and
outsourcing company, with 257,000 people serving clients in more than 120
countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities
across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the
world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help
them become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated
net revenues of US$27.9 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2012. Its
home page is www.accenture.com.
Allen Valahu, +33-1-5323-5754
Christine Yee Fields, +330-234-6406
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