Robust drilling and production activity in the Eagle Ford, Permian Basin, Granite Wash, and other oil-producing areas of Texas has unleashed high demand for frac water and a surge of produced water as wells come online. A single large Eagle Ford frac job can require as much as 11.5 million gallons of water – enough to submerge a one-acre plot of land under more than 30 feet of water. After the frac job, a sizable proportion of this fluid flows back and must be collected and either disposed of or reused. And after that, once a well begins producing, an average of 10 barrels of produced water will likely accompany each barrel of oil produced.
Texas now produces nearly 3 million barrels per day of crude oil and condensate – more than Mexico or Kuwait. But it must deal with more than 10 times this much produced water each day. Indeed, data from the Argonne National Laboratory suggest that as early as 2007, the state’s oil and gas fields produced a volume of water equivalent to nearly 22 percent of all water used by municipalities in Texas that year. Yet this massive potential resource has – to date – gone largely unused because treating oily, salty water was too expensive. Continue Reading