Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Fracking Water By Pipeline -- The Bakken -- April 28, 2015

Yesterday, we drove out east of Williston, driving about 23 miles east to Lund's Landing. Several miles before we got to Lund's Landing we noted a pipeline running from a water source -- probably the river -- along the road for several miles. The pipeline is flexible -- some kind of heavy plastic, obviously -- and perhaps 12 inches in diameter (but I am a very, very poor judge of estimating pipe diameters). It appeared to be taking water to wells for fracking.

On the way back we saw a pump and just as we were leaving an individual drove up to the pump. We drove back and chatted. Apparently there are two companies in the local area doing this: pumping water through temporary pipelines laid on the surface; water to be used for fracking. He estimated that the farthest they have gone with this is a well sited seventeen (17) miles as the pipeline runs from the water source.

From a 2013 Reuters article:
Energy companies get most of their water in the state by trucking it from depots to oil and natural gas wells. Some wells require more than 650 truckloads to frack. Companies such as EOG Resources Inc and Halliburton Co are experimenting with ways to reduce their dependence on water.
Fracking water depots, which cost roughly $200,000 to build and can gross more than $700,000 per year, are typically small metal buildings on concrete slabs filled with pumps and small tanks connected to the Missouri River or local aquifers. They can have two to six hookups and fill water trucks with as much as 7,800 gallons of water per visit.
[A] government-backed co-op has nine water depots to hold the fresh water that is piped from the treatment plant in Williston, about 45 miles north of Watford. It plans to build four more depots throughout the Bakken and hugely expand its pipeline system to bring fresh water to more homes. Small lines from the new pipelines will connect directly to some oil wells.
On the other side, Independent Water Providers member JMAC Resources will build more water depots in the region and a massive pipeline just south of the Missouri River to supply oil wells. Other members of the group have also applied for depot permits.
North Dakota water suppliers do not pay for water, and the state legislature rejected a proposed water tax earlier this year. Each side's plans will rapidly increase the options that energy companies have to access water, further depressing prices.
The operation in the video above was JMAC. The individual who I spoke to drove up in a pickup truck with the WDW logo on the cab doors. From an April, 2014, Roundup article:
Williston: West Dakota Water (WDW) is saving the state, counties and townships millions of dollars in road maintenance and construction costs through private investment in water pipeline infrastructure.
WDW Principal Engineer Drew Poeckes states, "The most economical way to transport water is through a pipeline. We currently pipe water upwards of 30 miles to well sites by utilizing permanent underground infrastructure to transport the water. West Dakota Water takes away much truck traffic to and from well sites thus saving the state, counties and townships money on the maintenance of their road systems. We are a private company putting in infrastructure (pipelines) that takes the burden off of the public infrastructure (roads)."
WDW is a subsidiary company to JMAC Resources, Inc., and has worked closely with their engineering and technical partner Bartlett & West, to plan, design, construct and provide operational services for fresh water delivery.
This is a video of one of the smaller pads to which water is being brought by surface pipeline to the wells; this is about 20 miles east of Williston on 1804:

From the linked article:
WDW was granted an industrial permit by the ND State Water Commission in 2012 to withdraw 10,000 ac-ft. annually from the Missouri River. In addition to this permit, WDW was also permitted to construct permanent submerged intakes into the Missouri River for withdrawing this water. The installed intakes allow for year round access to the water even in the harshest weather conditions. 
I'm not going to go through the math again, but a long time ago I mentioned how many wells could be fracked with an acre-foot of water.

Oh, I might as well re-do some of the math just for the fun of it. 

For newbies: Garrison Dam is currently releasing about 22,000 cubic feet / second.

One acre-foot: the amount of water that would cover one acre of land, one foot deep. One acre-foot = 43,560 cubic feet.

One cubic foot of water = 7.5 gallons.

So, 22,000 cubic feet / second = 7.5 gallons = 165,000 gallons of water/second.

2,000 wells x  5 million gallons of water to frack a well = 10,000 million gallons of water.

10,000 million / 165,000 gallons of water per second = 60,000 seconds = 1,000 minutes = 17 hours of water released from the Garrison Reservoir.

My math may be way off. I often make simple arithmetic errors.

Other posts on water, fracking, and the Bakken:
Again, this is an old, old subject; talked about it at length years ago; a non-issue but I suppose it helped me to go through it again.


  1. Thank you. I don't know if the imoji "thumbs up" will show up in reply box, but most appreciated.

  2. Doesn't show..
    If I would of known you'd be around I would of left some fresh caught northern by a pump..