Initial tests of a process used in the Bakken Shale in North Dakota indicate that up to 80% of the water used in hydraulic fracturing (fracking) may be recycled successfully, according to the state’s chief oil and natural gas official.

Citing observations earlier this fall of tests performed at a Statoil well site north of Williston, ND, Department of Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms said there is an advanced “frack shale formula” being used for the flowback water, which uses 50% produced water and 50% fresh water.

The water tests “fracked very well and the chemicals performed as predicted,” Helms said. The goal in the ongoing development is to recycle up to 80% of the water used in fracking.

“This is a huge leap forward,” Helms said. “Up to this point, we have only recycled 20% of the fracking flowback water, so this should move us next year to a point where we will typically be recycling 50% of the water used of the frack made-up water. The goal is to increase that another increment to the 75-80% range.”