A. Lee Graham
Oil and gas operators statewide credit Texas Railroad Commission rule amendments enacted last year for boosting the economic viability in enhancing their water-recycling efforts and helping conserve state water resources.
Making those comments on Thursday at a Texas Oil and Gas Water Conservation and Recycling Symposium in Austin were representatives of 26 companies, including Roanoke-based Fountain Quail Water Management LLC, Baker Hughes and Apache Corp., among others.
The meeting followed last’s year’s amendments to the commission’s recycling rules. They were made to encourage further conservation, reuse and recycling of produced water by oil and gas operators in the oilfield.
“Today, operator Fasken Oil and Ranch reported that they expect to no longer use freshwater in their operations by the end of June 2014, resulting in a total of approximately 2.3 million gallons of fresh water left in the ground,” Commissioner Christi Craddick said at the meeting.
“Due to the drought our state is currently experiencing, the importance of water conservation and scrutiny over water usage continues to grow, and the industry is doing their part in conserving this precious resource,” Craddick said.
At the symposium, industry representatives updated Craddick and staff on industry best practices in water recycling and conservation. Accomplishments discussed during symposium discussion include:
· Recycling has significantly reduced the use of fresh water in oil and gas production operations.
· Companies that gave presentations reported recycling capacity of up to 1.5 million barrels of water per day; recycling up to 50 million barrels of water since industry focus to increase recycling began in 2012; and recycling produced water to account for up to 100 percent of their water needs in energy production.
· The amount of produced water hauled by trucking and disposed underground has dropped, and will continue to decrease exponentially.
· Produced water is now a resource and sold as a commodity for re-use in hydraulic fracturing operations.