Houston Chronicle: New laws could pump billions of dollars into Permian Basin’s rapidly growing water recycling industry
Probably not a space where you want to be half pregnant.
“A lot of it comes down to what level of control that the exploration and production company wants to have over water,’ Duman said. “There are extreme cases where some operators want to wash their hands clean of it and let a third-party company take care of it all. On the complete other end of the spectrum, you have companies like Pioneer Natural Resources that have their own water subsidiary that handles their volumes with dedicated resources.”
Water has become such a large business in the oilfield that it now has its own conferences. Earlier this month, hundreds of industry professionals attended the Produced Water Management Conference at the Westin Galleria in Houston where recycling was a frequent topic of conversation.
Looking ahead, the industry is ripe for consolidation. Midland oilfield water management company XRI bought the water recycling arm of Dallas-based Fountain Quail Energy Services in April. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed but XRI CEO Matt Garbiel said the industry is looking to become more sustainable.
“Our customers are realizing very quickly how cost-effective our technology is compared to more costly saltwater disposal infrastructure and services,” Gabriel said. “It is an exciting time for our company to be at the forefront of reshaping water management in the energy industry through sustainable and economic water reuse solutions.”
In the 1920s, an oilfield accident near Big Lake, Texas sent billions of gallons of produced water to the surface, making the land unsuitable for vegetation and animal life. Known as the “Texon Scar,” the damage can still be seen from outer space nearly 100 years later.
“Any landowner will tell you that they’d rather have an oil spill on their land than a produced water spill,” Leyden said. “It’s much easier to clean up an oil spill. Produced water has salts and other compounds that are difficult to remove.”