Water-rock interactions and self-remediation: Lessons from a hydraulic fracturing operation in the Vaca Muerta formation, Argentina - INSU - Institut national des sciences de l'Univers Access content directly
Journal Articles Geoenergy Science and Engineering Year : 2023

Water-rock interactions and self-remediation: Lessons from a hydraulic fracturing operation in the Vaca Muerta formation, Argentina

Abstract

In order to analyze the effect of a new gelling agent for hydraulic fracturing, fluid samples from different stages of the operation (hydraulic fracturing fluid, coil tubing, flowback and produced waters) were collected from a well in the Vaca Muerta formation in Argentina. Collected samples were analyzed for major and trace elements, first within a few days after sampling, then reanalyzed 6 months later and again 2 years after sampling. Results show that the salinity of samples increased quickly with time, from 2000 mg/L up to 43,000 mg/l a month later, due to the mixing of hydraulic fracturing fluids with formation water. No evidence of water-rock reactions was observed. Results from the later analyses showed that the composition of the samples evolved with time with a sensible decrease of concentration for most trace elements over the course of these two years (e.g. Ba from 137 mg/L to 55 mg/L, Mn from 8 mg/L to 5 mg/L) and heavy metals (e.g. As /L to 1 f/L, Co /L to /L, Cr from /L to /L). Interpretation of the results shows that delayed, post-sampling, precipitation of barite in the preserved samples is the reason for such a decrease. This opens a very interesting option for mitigation and remediation of wastewaters from hydraulic fracturing as natural or even triggered precipitation of barite could involve most of the dissolved heavy metals and decrease strongly their concentrations.
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Dates and versions

insu-03978645 , version 1 (08-02-2023)

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F. Osselin, E.C. Gaucher, P. Baldony-Andrey, Wolfram Kloppmann, B. Mayer. Water-rock interactions and self-remediation: Lessons from a hydraulic fracturing operation in the Vaca Muerta formation, Argentina. Geoenergy Science and Engineering, 2023, 224, pp.211496. ⟨10.1016/j.geoen.2023.211496⟩. ⟨insu-03978645⟩
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