I am strongly considering building a fracking pond on my land in the pleasant hill area but I have a few questions. This will be a huge investment for me so I want to be sure that I am not taking a huge risk though I know that there are few guarantees in life and there is a certain risk with any investment. There is a lot of drilling activity going on and lots of permitted wells in the area.  My main questions are what is the range that a fracking pond can be utilized and how many wells would it take to get my investment back ($50-$100k).  I think That I have a great spot on my land that has a creek that I hope can be utilized for the water.  Do you guys know of an attorney or business that specializes in frac ponds or knows all the ins and outs of building one.  Any info would be great.

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I’m a rancher and contractor in Texas that has built several frac ponds and my family has several frac lakes on our property.  However, I’m not familiar with Louisiana water laws.  If they are similar to Texas, you must have a permit from the state before you can utilize a creek for commercial use. All surface waters (Rivers, creeks and other defined channels) belong to the state.  Storm runoff in nondefined channels belongs to the surface owner.  I know there are a lot of ag ponds out there that are built in gullies, but in Texas, that is permissible for ag use only.  A drilling producer may use some of this, but it is usually just a small amount (10,000 to 12,000 bbls). You may need to check with the governing entity in Louisiana to verify.  It could be the Ag extension office or Department of Environmental Quality.

 In Texas, the trend has been to build super ponds (10 to 15 surface acres containing 1,000,000 to 2,000,000+ bbls.) in strategic areas that can support fracking within a 5 to 10 mile radius.  These ponds are fed by water wells and some surface runoff.  This is to remove any doubt as to the ownership of the water.  On our ranch, we have a 1 million bbl lake in operation and plans to build a 3 million bbl lake next year if drilling continues.  They are fed by 3- 6” and 4-4” water wells with some storm runoff.  Some operators build or utilize small staging ponds adjacent to the pad to provide the water needed for one frac stage, but this is not always the case.  Bear in mind that 1 well can utilize more than 1,200,000 bbls for an entire frac.  Add in multiple wells per pad, and you can easily need 5 million barrels per location!  

I would suggest that you find out who is drilling in your area and try to get with their water landmen.  They are usually upfront about if they can use your location and/or water.  If you have a good location, they may even cost share the construction.  The big lakes can cost from $400,000 to $750,000 easily.  I’m not trying to discourage you, but there are a lot of variables that have to line up for your pond to be usable for commercial applications.   I have 2 neighbors that did not do their homework and spent over $200,000 each on damming up creeks to make frac ponds that unfortunately, are only usable for cattle watering or crop irrigation!  

Good advice on getting with the water landmen.  Thats what I did and they told me don't waste my money because the piece of land I was looking at building on was not ideal.  

Thanks Chad.  It looks like Texas and Texans don't play around haha. Thanks for the information.

50- 100K?  How big are you planning on building?  That's a small pond if that's all you plan to spend.  If it's not big enough you're likely only to be paid as a holding pond which can be as little as 2500/well.  Takes a long time to get your investment money back.  I have a 2,000,000 barrel pond (19.27 acres) thats being used as a holding pond because it's not big enough for the longer laterals they are currently doing.  I looked at building another pond but cant make 180-200K pay for itself with these longer laterals.

Sounds like there is a lot more to it than I was led to believe. How are they fracking the long laterals now? Most of the new wells I see now are the longer ones. There are no manmade ponds bigger than 20 acres around here for sure.  I would love to have a 20 acre "deep" pond that paid for itself but would have to have more assurances. Does anybody know if the same rule  that Texas has against using the creek to fill the pond apply here in LA. 

The companies currently supplying water to the list of operating companies I provided can answer all your questions with specifics.  There are water supply options existing so the question becomes one of projecting any increase in future volume needs or advantages of location.  Those existing water supplies have been supplying long laterals for about four years now and I have not run across any reports of water shortages however the facts concerning frac water sourcing is probably not in the public record or covered by local media.  The operators and their water contractors would be the only ones to know.

Besides existing ponds/lakes (natural and man-made), water for frac operations can come from Toledo Bend, the Sabine River and the Red River.

Thanks Guys.  It looks like I have a lot more investigating to do.  Lots of good information to think about.

Skip, where is that list? 

It was sent to TK at his request.  I didn't post it in the discussion because it is specific to his location and not relevant out side of that area.

It is a cut-and-paste of the subject township from my basin wide tracking spreadsheet showing which companies operate HA units in each section.

Got it - was it E&P operators or water marketing companies?

It was the operators of Haynesville drilling and production units, not water companies.  I think TK can find out from that handful of companies in this township what water companies they use to source their frack water.  I am unaware of a publicly available list of water companies serving the Haynesville Shale play.  I would certainly like to have access to one.

TK, what Section-Township-Range would your frac pond be located in/near?


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