Friday, June 5, 2009

Chesapeake Gets Red River Water Permit

Yesterday, Chesapeake Energy received a permit from the Corps of Engineers to pump water from the Red River for use in its hydraulic fracturing process in the Caspiana (LA) field. As noted before, water is becoming an important issue in the greater Shreveport area as Haynesville Shale drilling, agricultural and urban uses have combined to cause great strain on the Corrizo-Wilcox Aquifer.

One solution that will benefit drillers in the vicinity of the Red River is to pump water directly from the river. Chesapeake's temporary setup calls for an 8-inch hose held by a buoy and extended about 5 to 10 feet into the water. The hose leads to a portable pumping device, and from there a 10-inch aluminum pipe is extended to well locations or water transfer station.

Chesapeake's line will benefit drilling operations in the Caspiana Field north of Lock and Dam No. 5. Petrohawk officials are looking in the same area. Questar has three applications pending, including one in south Caddo and two in Red River Parish. Several companies are working together to coordinate withdrawal sites.

One wrinkle is that once permission is granted, the Corps cannot stop any of the companies from pumping. The situation is complicated by the fact that multiple entities have jurisdiction over the river for different purposes. The good news is that the quantities of water drawn would not likely be large compared to the Red's natural flow.

[6/9/09 - Update: Good editorial from the Shreveport Times on water use.]

No comments: