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.