If Permian oil and gas production is going to continue to thrive, operators need reliable and affordable access to more water management solutions. Oil executives from major Permian operators shared this common consensus at a recent energy summit at Rice University in Houston, calling water disposal from oilfield operations one of the biggest challenges they face.

Among the challenges discussed by executives from Shell and Callon Petroleum:

  • Trucking-related disposal is getting dangerous. An executive for Shell stated that 60% of wastewater leaving the Permian is trucked out, forcing companies to contend with high-volume trucking activity that makes the roads more perilous.
  • Water recycling needs more focus. Recycling technologies have been studied and trialed for years, but large-scale implementation hasn’t taken hold. Executives agreed that technology will be critical to reducing disposal volumes, easing road traffic and resolving supply chain logistics bottlenecks, but it will require greater long-term collaboration among operators to get there.
  • According to a leading energy regulatory attorney, regulations must be updated. The current “fractured” regulatory landscape in Texas has prevented some operators from developing safer and more sustainable solutions to address wastewater disposal, recycling and transport.

If long-term solutions to these challenges are found, the executives believe that the Permian will continue its pace to become one of the world’s largest producing basins. (by Laura Capper, President & CEO, CAP Resources | EnergyMakers AG)

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