A new study of wastewater produced by shale and conventional gas wells in the Marcellus region surprisingly finds that the shale gas wells produce more total wastewater but much less wastewater per molecule of gas. In fact, shale wells produce just 35% of the wastewater of conventional gas wells on a per molecule basis. That is indeed a surprising conclusion made by university researchers. See
As research moves forward on gas production, further findings may come forward that demonstrate shale production could have less impact in other ways than conventional gas wells. For example, methane leakage rates vary in different gas fields and possibly between shale gas and conventional gas production. Indeed leakage rates may be higher in conventional gas fields than in shale production areas. Why could that be?
Shale gas fields are newer and have better quality equipment, including gathering lines, compared to typically older, leakier conventional gas fields. Green completions also are already approximately 70% at shale gas wells, a rate likely much higher than at lower-volume conventional gas wells.