Water Management and Conservation
Anadarko recognizes that water resources must be protected, at the surface and below, and we are committed to constructing our wells in accordance with regulatory requirements and industry standards. Across our U.S. onshore operating areas, we require that multiple protective layers of steel pipe, also called casing, and cement be set several hundred feet below the deepest known aquifer and cemented all the way to the surface. The cement must meet certain quality requirements and extend the full length of the casing. These redundant protective boundaries are put in place to establish wellbore integrity. Additionally, the casing is pressure tested, the cement’s quality and placement is checked, and pressure gauges are installed to monitor the well for mechanical integrity once production begins.
Water Use vs. Other Energy Technologies
In addition to protecting water resources under ground, Anadarko takes numerous precautions to conserve and protect water above the surface. For example:
In the Marcellus Shale, Anadarko’s water-management and well-completion strategies strive to reduce truck traffic and associated emissions, while minimizing earth disturbance and conserving available water resources. In addition to the well-construction requirements stated above that require multiple protective layers of steel pipe and cement across its operating areas, in the Marcellus, Anadarko adds another protective layer of steel pipe and cement as an added measure of protection. Additionally, a piping system using two lines, one for natural gas and one for fresh water (located in the same trench to reduce surface disturbance) provides water to well sites for the completion process. The closed-loop system moves water from a pre-determined and approved source through pipelines to containment facilities for use in the hydraulic fracturing process. Anadarko has employed the use of temporary earthen impoundments and portable, above-ground holding ponds (PortaDams) to store water required for completion operations. The flowback water from operations is produced into steel tanks and treated on site using newly developed water filtration and recycling technologies. The recovered flowback water that is then recycled and reused in future operations. Additionally, we collect drill cuttings, or pieces of earth that return to the surface in the drilling operations, in steel containers until they can be properly tested and disposed of in accordance with all regulations.
Even before it was required by regulation, we partnered with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) and Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA) to conduct baseline water samples on new wells outside the greater Wattenberg area. As part of this proactive effort, we paid for an independent third party to collect water samples, test them and maintain them through the COGCC, in order to ensure our operations did not impact water quality in our areas of operations. Water sampling is now a required step in Colorado under the oversight of the COGCC.
In the Greater Natural Buttes area, Anadarko was recognized by the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining with its 2012, 2011 and 2010 Earth Day Award, and by the Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission with its 2010 Chairman’s Award for the Anadarko Completions Transportation System (ACTS) This creative water-management program creates temporary staging sites on existing natural gas well locations. The staging site treats recycled flowback water from hydraulic fracturing and then moves the filtered water directly to the next operation through temporary pipelines. These pipelines use existing pad locations and rights of way that minimize additional surface disturbance, truck traffic and associated emissions.
Anadarko constructed a 48-mile water pipeline to transport produced water from our coalbed methane operations in the Powder River Basin south to our Salt Creek field. Here it is stored in underground aquifers that match the quality of the produced water so it can potentially be used in the future.