There is limited information on the chemical risks of many oil and gas production techniques that take place in Europe. Utrecht University researchers have carried out a chemical and bioassay assessment of hydraulic fracturing-related waters from a tight gas development in the Netherlands. The results help paint a better picture of the chemical risks to the water system associated with oil and gas production techniques in Europe.
Hydraulic fracturing is an oil and gas production technique used in impermeable geological formations. It involves horizontal directional drilling of wells as well as the use of water, chemicals, and proppants like sand at high pressures to fracture rock and release hydrocarbons.
Environmental concerns of hydraulic fracturing
The application of this technology has led to concerns about its environmental impact. “The process creates wastewater that is made up of both injected chemicals and chemicals already present in the formation that are mobilized during the process,” says PhD researcher and lead author Ann-Hélène Faber. “The chemicals in this wastewater can potentially contaminate the surrounding environment in case of a failure”.