Full Name

2011 Unconventional Resources

Understanding and Managing Environmental Roadblocks to Shale Gas Development: An Analysis of Shallow Gas, NORMs, and Trace Metals (Texas)

Subcontractor: The University of Texas at Austin

Principal Investigator: Jean Nicot
Project Number Project Status
11122-56 Completed
RPSEA Project Manager: Sandy McSurdy
University of Michigan
Period of Performance
Start Date End Date
June 14, 2013 September 30, 2015
Total Project Cost RPSEA Share Cost Share
$1,616,587.00 $1,275,152.00 $325,269.00
Project Objectives

The objective of this study is to enhance our understanding of the geochemistry of the natural system and its behavior when perturbed by hydraulic fracturing (HF). Presence of gas, trace metals, and NORMs in aquifers may or may not be related to HF operations associated with shale gas production. To achieve this objective, we will (1) evaluate sources and mobilization mechanisms for shallow gases in aquifers using chemistry, isotopes, microbes, and noble gases; (2) assess quantity and mobilization mechanisms of trace metals and NORMs using laboratory batch experiments with injected water (fresh to brackish) and produced water to determine the impact of water chemistry on mobilization of trace metals and NORMs; and (3) develop Best Management Practices with respect to characterizing sources and processes impacting shallow gas in aquifers.

The work will be focused on Texas plays. They are sufficiently diverse to represent a wide range of plays throughout the nation. The general focus of the industry on liquid-rich plays, such as the Barnett Shale with its combo play in its northern section and, in particular, the Eagle Ford Shale oil window, will also be the focus of this study.


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