Table_1_Geochemistry and Microbiology Predict Environmental Niches With Conditions Favoring Potential Microbial Activity in the Bakken Shale.XLSX (45.05 kB)
Download file

Table_1_Geochemistry and Microbiology Predict Environmental Niches With Conditions Favoring Potential Microbial Activity in the Bakken Shale.XLSX

Download (45.05 kB)
dataset
posted on 30.07.2020, 04:37 authored by Kara Tinker, James Gardiner, Daniel Lipus, Preom Sarkar, Mengling Stuckman, Djuna Gulliver

The Bakken Shale and underlying Three Forks Formation is an important oil and gas reservoir in the United States. The hydrocarbon resources in this region are accessible using unconventional oil and gas extraction methods, including horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. However, the geochemistry and microbiology of this region are not well understood, although they are known to have major implications for productivity and water management. In this study, we analyzed the produced water from 14 unconventional wells in the Bakken Shale using geochemical measurements, quantitative PCR (qPCR), and 16S rRNA gene sequencing with the overall goal of understanding the complex dynamics present in hydraulically fractured wells. Bakken Shale produced waters from this study exhibit high measurements of total dissolved solids (TDS). These conditions inhibit microbial growth, such that all samples had low microbial loads except for one sample (well 11), which had lower TDS concentrations and higher 16S rRNA gene copies. Our produced water samples had elevated chloride concentrations typical of other Bakken waters. However, they also contained a sulfate concentration trend that suggested higher occurrence of sulfate reduction, especially in wells 11 and 18. The unique geochemistry and microbial loads recorded for wells 11 and 18 suggest that the heterogeneous nature of the producing formation can provide environmental niches with conditions conducive for microbial growth. This was supported by strong correlations between the produced water microbial community and the associated geochemical parameters including sodium, chloride, and sulfate concentrations. The produced water microbial community was dominated by 19 bacterial families, all of which have previously been associated with hydrocarbon-reservoirs. These families include Halanaerobiaceae, Pseudomonadaceae, and Desulfohalobiaceae which are often associated with thiosulfate reduction, biofilm production, and sulfate reduction, respectively. Notably, well 11 was dominated by sulfate reducers. Our findings expand the current understanding of microbial life in the Bakken region and provide new insights into how the unique produced water conditions shape microbial communities. Finally, our analysis suggests that produced water chemistry is tightly linked with microbiota in the Bakken Shale and shows that additional research efforts that incorporate coupled microbial and geochemical datasets are necessary to understand this ecosystem.

History

References