Company develops oil and gas wastewater assets in Permian Basin

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An oil and gas water treatment company bought the produced water infrastructure from Colgate Energy purchased from Occidental Petroleum last month.

Houston-based WaterBridge Holdings announced the deal on September 10 that saw the company enter into a 15-year produced water management agreement for the entire acreage of oil producer Colgate in the Delaware Basin. , on the Texas side of the shale area in Reeves and Ward counties.

The acquisition included 10 water treatment facilities for intermediate operations capable of treating approximately 100,000 barrels per day as well as approximately 50 miles of pipelines to move produced water into the basin that West Texas shares with southeastern New Mexico.

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The acreage acquired by Colgate under Operation Oxy joined the assets previously acquired by Colgate from Luxe Energy, meaning that a total of 86,100 operated acres of produced water assets will be managed by WaterBridge for Colgate.

After the transaction closes, WaterBridge will have a total of 600,000 operating acres for 20 oil and gas producers in the Delaware Basin and the western part of the Great Permian Basin that stretches from the Carlsbad region to the New -Mexico in Midland, Texas.

Basin-wide, WaterBridge has the capacity to process 2.1 million barrels per day for reuse and 959 miles of pipelines to redistribute water from 97 facilities.

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“Colgate’s decision to expand its relationship with WaterBridge further confirms our position as a provider of choice water solutions in the Delaware Basin,” said Jason Long, President and CEO of WaterBridge. “This transaction further enhances our ability to manage and distribute over two million barrels per day of water produced and recycled on our Permian platform. “

David Capobianco, CEO of WaterBridge’s parent company, Fiver Point Energy, said the company is looking to expand its presence in the prolific Permian Basin region as producers like Colgate continue to expand their operations.

“Five Point and WaterBridge have built the premier platform for water solutions in the Permian by continuing to support the success of our customers,” he said. “We are delighted to strengthen our relationship and further expand our operations to support Colgate’s growth in the region.

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As more and more unconventional wells, those that use hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, have been added to the region, there has been more interest in the higher volumes of water produced. during operations in the arid region.

Researchers recently began to study how produced water, a combination of reflux water and formation water brought to the surface with crude oil and natural gas, could be used to solve water scarcity.

Research suggests increased use of oil and gas wastewater

In New Mexico, a research consortium between the state and State University of New Mexico was convened by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in 2019 to study the potential for using produced water outside of New Mexico. oil and gas, with the results of the multi-year study pending.

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A September 8 study released by the California Regional Water Quality Control Board based on a five-year study found little health or environmental impact from the use of produced water on agricultural crops in central Kern County, California.

This region was the only region in the world already using produced water to irrigate crops, according to the study, and it recommended increased monitoring and more water requirements for permits to appease the environmental and public health issues.

Although the study is limited to this region, it was one of the first in the country to indicate that the produced water, often rich in brine and other chemicals associated with oil drilling, could be safe for the environment. agricultural industry.

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“Fears that severe droughts will become more frequent in the future has increased interest in using unconventional water sources for irrigation,” the study said. “Water produced by oil and gas is an unconventional water source that has potential for agricultural use due to the proximity of some oil and gas fields to agricultural land. “

Researchers admitted there were concerns about the use of water produced on crops that would ultimately be consumed by humans, as the water may contain chemicals and contaminants unsuitable for human use. .

“However, environmental groups and other members of the public have raised questions about the safety of reusing produced water as an irrigation source,” the study reads.

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To determine the extent of these hazards, the study first identified the chemicals used in oil production in the region, investigated their toxicity levels in various crops and soils, and set up a monitoring program in collaboration with producers and users of water.

The researchers also argued that more monitoring and studies were needed on the extent of chemicals in water produced in soils and crops over a longer period than that conducted by the study, and that more research on soil and water sampling was needed.

“There have been no results from crop sampling to indicate a food security or public health issue related to the reuse of produced water for irrigation in this region,” the study said.

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Despite ongoing research into the potential of using produced water to alleviate the water scarcity in the United States, environmentalists in New Mexico have argued that it is “toxic” waste that does not. would never be safe for human use or consumption outside of extraction.

“Climate change is ravaging New Mexico, leading to more severe droughts and water shortages. In response, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham endorses the use of toxic wastewater from the oil and gas industry to replenish drinking water supplies, irrigate crops and fill rivers, ”said Rebecca Sobel of WildEarth Guardians in a report. communicated.

“His political stance is an extremely reckless approach to regulating the fossil fuel industry and risks leaving New Mexico’s dwindling water supply poisoned and unusable.”

Adrian Hedden can be reached at 575-618-7631, [email protected] or @AdrianHedden on Twitter.


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