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251st American Chemical Society National Meeting & Exposition
March 13, 2016 - March 17, 2016
Locus submitted a paper for the American Chemical Society’s 251st National Meeting & Exposition.
Title: Improving public perception of environmental impacts for hydrofracking sites
Presenters: Neno Duplan, Marian Carr, John Hawthorne
There is little dispute in both scientific and business communities that groundwater protection and water usage at hydrofracking sites provide the biggest challenges for this young and promising industry. To date, criticism of fracking has focused mainly on concerns that the chemicals energy companies are mixing with the water could contaminate underground aquifers. Oil industry officials must often to prove the protection of environmental resources to a skeptical public and to regulators. One of the biggest challenges to future hydrofracking developments is simply getting access to sufficient water. The high rate of water use and the state of the water that returns to the surface trouble environmental watchdogs and the members of the communities where the drilling occurs.
But an even bigger problem may be the management of water-quality data. Water contaminated during the hydrofracking process and returned to the surface frequently needs to be treated, but the process is generally lengthy and expensive. Once contaminated, water needs to be monitored until cleaned. The process is costly in terms of water loss and contamination risk, requires high energy usage, and the public is taking note.
All of these activities generate huge quantities of complex data, and those quantities are set to explode over the next few years if regulators impose new monitoring requirements as expected. Cloud-based data management and compliance reporting can completely replace existing stand-alone data systems and reporting tools to provide a comprehensive integrated solution to the industry’s one of the most vexing problems—the centralization and management of complex data pertaining to contaminated water, soil, and air.
At many oil and gas exploration sites that use conventional drilling and exploration technologies, cloud-based information management systems already provide market-tested solutions that were rapidly deployed and provide a high level of functionality and data security, an extensive set of QA/QC standards, and scalability. Perhaps the most important element of cloud-based software is that operators may choose the transparency that the industry badly needs to shed the negative image of a major water polluter.
Leaders who implement water-quality transparency at their companies’ hydrofracking sites before others do, and who formulate specific and measurable targets with respect to their water footprint reduction, can turn this practice into a competitive advantage.