“Show Me The Money!” is the iconic 90’s catch phrase from the movie ‘Jerry Maguire.’ This line also comes to mind when we examine the frac water management opportunity that is unfolding in the East Duvernay Shale Basin.
At Connate Water Solutions, in addition to hydrogeology consulting, we internally generate groundwater prospects in areas of high operator demand. Our focus is currently on the shallow bedrock hydrogeology of the emerging Twining/Ghostpine area (Figure 1).
As we compile our 30,000 ft view of the East Duvernay from a water strategy standpoint, we believe that water sourcing and logistics for completions will not be a trivial (or inexpensive) endeavour. One interesting statistic to report is the Alberta energy industry punched above its weight using only 10% of the province’s total water allocation relative to other major industries (Figure 2).
Figure 2: Red Deer River Subwatershed and Alberta Energy Industry Water Allocation Pie Chart (AER, 2018)
The East Duvernay Shale basin is located in a more densely populated and drier area of Southern Alberta when compared to other resource plays in northwestern Alberta and northeastern BC. This will result in diversion licenses becoming more difficult to obtain and more stringent monitoring requirements due to the lower available water allocation.
Recent data regarding East Duvernay slick-water volumes are reported at 40,000+ m3 with the trend increasing (Frac Focus, 2018). As shown in our “Figure 1: East Duvernay Water Strategy Map”, forward thinking operators have successfully obtained Temporary Diversion Licenses (TDLs) using alternative water sources (wastewater) from the Town of Three Hills, Trochu and Linden.
Overall, surface water and wastewater will not provide enough runway for full cycle pad development. Groundwater will also be needed in supplying East Duvernay completions and we at Connate Water have found some Solutions!
Geoff Kovacik M.Sc. P.Geo.
Connate Water Solutions Inc.
1001-1St Street SE