Playbooks Supplements

Water Management Techbook 2018

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2 | April 2018 | WATER MANAGEMENT: OVERVIEW T he challenge of managing water—acquiring enough supply for massive fracturing jobs and safely and securely handling the growing amounts of produced water—has emerged as a task nearly equal to that of producing hydrocarbons themselves. Enhanced completions, sometimes more than 2 miles long, often result in high IPs, but what also arises are escalated amounts of produced water. Meanwhile, those same completions often are requiring hundreds of thousands of barrels of water for each fracturing job. In a study on water usage in North American hydraulic fracturing operations, the U.S. Geolog- ical Survey (USGS) found that "the amount of water [needed] to hydraulically fracture oil and gas wells varies widely across the country." The USGS reported that average water volumes for fracturing jobs ranged between 2,600 gal per well to as much as 9.7 MMgal per well. Meanwhile, according to the Produced Water Society, nearly 10 bbl of produced water are generated for each barrel of oil. By most estimates, water management costs often account for about 40% of fracturing oper- ations. According to Layne Christensen, a Houston-based water management com- pany, the cost to acquire freshwater in the Delaware Basin ranges from $0.50/bbl to more than $2/bbl, while disposal costs range from $0.50/bbl to $1/bbl, an amount that does not include transportation costs. With so much water going into and coming out of wells, and the costs of securing enough supply and managing produced water so high, both service companies and operators are investing in innovative approaches to moving, ana- lyzing, supplying and disposing of water, while regulatory agencies work to stay ahead of this rapidly growing industry. According to Bluefield Research, spend- ing on U.S. hydraulic fracturing water management and services will increase from a little more than $12 billion this year to nearly $15 billion in 2026, with disposal costs accounting for most of the increase in expenditures. Enhanced practices emerge amid growth in production. Taking Charge of Water Management By Brian Walzel Associate Editor, Production Technologies Layne Christensen operates two freshwater storage ponds just outside Pecos County in the Permian Basin, one holding 500,000 bbl and the other holding 250,000 bbl of water. (Photo courtesy of Layne Christensen)

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