Everly – How the Oil and Gas Industry is Using Technology to Reduce Water Consumption

Once considered hopelessly dependent on foreign imports, the United States has recently emerged as the world’s largest oil and gas producer. The “shale revolution”—made possible by technologies such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking)—has changed not only America’s energy landscape, but also the global energy market.

But in some regions, concerns about water use have accompanied the U.S. energy boom, for fracking can require millions of gallons of water per well. Though fracking in the U.S. represents only a fraction of a percent of nationwide water consumption, companies are actively developing and using new technologies to reduce water use—a story of success that has unfortunately not been told enough.

For example, Apache, a major operator in west Texas, is using brackish and recycled produced water for its drilling and fracking operations “without competing for scarce freshwater supplies.” According to Reuters, the company has recycled more than 1.2 million barrels of produced water. Apache sources some of its water from the Santa Rosa aquifer, whose waters are unsuitable for human consumption or agriculture.

Pioneer Natural Resources—another large operator in west Texas—is purchasing wastewater from the city of Odessa to use in its local oil and gas operations. The company’s contract with the city not only provides additional funding for public services, but also reduces the amount of water that must be pumped from underground. Anadarko has a similar agreement with the city of Aurora in Colorado.

This represents a rare win–win–win situation. Energy development has long been a cornerstone of the economy in these regions, and it supports many high-paying jobs. The abundant energy produced allows America to import less, and the use of nonpotable water means that local residents can worry a little less about the availability of underground drinking water.

Read the full article here: http://www.ibmbigdatahub.com/blog/how-oil-and-gas-industry-using-technology-reduce-water-consumption.


Senior Director, Energy and Natural Resources, FTI Consulting

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