Water use for shale gas development in China's Fuling shale gas field

Wenrui Shi, Xingzhi Wang, Meiyu Guo*, Yuanhui Shi, Aiguo Feng, Rui Liang, Arshad Raza

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


A large volume of water is required in shale gas development, especially for large-scale hydraulic fracturing in horizontal wells. This study focuses on 334 shale gas wells in the largest production field Fuling in China. Models are formulated to estimate the water use at each stage of the development process, including pre-drilling preparation, drilling and cementing, fracturing, gas testing, production testing. Domestic water used by employee community of shale gas companies are also fully considered. The results show that the average fracturing water use per well was 34,756.0 m3 in Fuling, which accounted for 98% of the total water use. By the end of 2017, the total fracturing water used in Fuling was 1.09 × 107 m3, and a total of 2.28 × 106 m3 of flowback fluid was achieved with 2.16 × 106 m3 of water reused. In addtion, the domestic water used by the employee community was found to be 2.19 × 106 m3, which was equivalent to the water saved from the flowback fluid. China's special “development campaign” mode for shale gas extraction is the reason. The results improve the understanding of water use in China's shale gas development and also provide important implications for water management.

Original languageEnglish
Article number120680
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 20 May 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

User-Defined Keywords

  • China
  • Fuling
  • Shale gas
  • Water use


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