USGS releases new Produced Waters Geochemical Database

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April 17, 2014 -- The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) recently released its new Produced Waters Geochemical Database (located here) -- an online platform that provides valuable information on a comprehensive list of chemicals, including major elements, trace elements, isotopes, and time-series data.

The database is publicly available to all industry experts and interested members of the public, and is a key resource for scientists studying produced waters and their geochemical and environmental impacts. Accordingly, it serves as an update of the 2002 USGS Produced Waters Database, adding more than 100,000 new samples with greater spatial coverage and from both conventional and unconventional oil and gas development.

"This update of the database -- with significantly more samples, types of analyses, and data from unconventional oil and gas wells -- will be a tremendous tool for a number of stakeholders," said USGS scientist Madalyn Blondes, who led the development of the database. For example, "Industry can use the database to examine water quality for prospective plays and to plan for wastewater injection and recycling. Farmers can look up local produced water quality for possible remediation and reuse. Local and national resource managers and economists will have new data to aid in tracking the composition of trace elements and quantifying strategic mineral commodities."

The USGS Produced Waters Geochemical Database also aids in identifying each sample according to what kind of well it was produced from, the properties of the rock formation it originated from, and the physical properties of the water in the sample. The kind of well the sample originated from is important, as different well types involve different production methods and rock formations. The database lists seven different kinds: conventional oil and gas, shale gas, tight oil, tight gas, coal bed methane, geothermal, and groundwater.

The USGS Produced Waters Geochemical Database is designed to be dynamic and easily updated with new data or corrections as needed. It is made up of 25 smaller databases, publications and reports. The Produced Waters project, as part of the USGS Energy Resources Program (ERP) examines the characterization, use and impact of waters associated with oil and gas production. To learn more about USGS produced waters and other energy research, visit the USGS Energy Website.

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