Water Initiatives Lead To Impressive Results Among Texas Energy Producers

Mon, October 19, 2020

It’s widely known that water is the primary fluid component used in the hydraulic fracturing process. What’s less understood is what happens to that water once a producer has safely drilled a well and extracted the oil or natural gas. Instead of simply tossing the water and finding new sources for each well, Texas energy producers have found innovative ways to greatly decrease the amount of freshwater they use.

Companies across the state have built impressive systems and processes to increase recycling and reuse of produced water, leading to a major decrease in freshwater usage. For instance, a Houston-based energy company recently announced the completion of the largest water recycling facility in the Permian. The facility owned by Breakwater Energy, spans 80 acres and can process up to 250,000 barrels per day of produced water.

Breakwater is one of the many companies who have taken on impressive water recycling efforts in recent years. Houston-based Apache Corp has prioritized water conservation and recycling across its operations, especially in areas considered “water-scarce.” Since 2015, Apache has increased its use of recycled produced water for hydraulic fracturing by a gigantic 284 percent. And in 2019, 95 percent of the water used in the company’s operations was non-fresh water.

EOG Resources has developed an innovative tool called Trident that tracks real-time data on the company’s water resources and its field teams to better plan ahead and minimize the trucking of water. And it’s clear that Trident is working – EOG decreased its freshwater intensity rate by 40 percent in 2019. In the Permian Basin, the company increased the amount of water sourced from reuse in 2019 by 64 percent, resulting in 77 percent of EOG’s water in the region being sourced from reuse.

Chevron tailors its water reuse and conservation strategies based on the area of operation. In the Permian, Chevron often uses brackish (non-fresh) or recycled produced water instead of fresh water. Today, more than 99 percent of the water used in the company’s well completions is from brackish or recycled water sources.

While each company may have its own approach to water use, it’s clear that producers across the state agree on the importance of water reuse and recycling during the hydraulic fracturing process. Even in the face of a global pandemic, investments in water recycling have continued in earnest. In the last five years alone, U.S. energy producers have retooled their approach to water sourcing and consumption, greatly lessening fresh water needs across the drilling process. We look forward to even more progress in the space and additional conservation success stories in the Lone Star State’s future.