Water management

Delaware Basin Case History Details Economic Benefit of Water-Recycling Program

This case history explores a multiwell sectional development in the Delaware Basin by a small operator who reduced drilling and completion costs, along with lease operating expenses, by turning undesirable produced water into an asset.

Sample of 100% produced water.
Fig. 1—Sample of 100% produced water.

Well completion operations are affected by freshwater procurement costs starting at approximately $0.75/bbl. Regardless of final fracturing design, water consumption during fracturing operations typically exceeds 500,000 bbl, or $375,000 per well at the time of writing. Significant value exists for recycling produced water by an on-lease pit that can be used for future fracturing operations. The case history outlined in the complete paper explores a multiwell sectional development in the Delaware Basin by a small operator that reduced drilling and completion costs, along with lease operating expenses, by turning undesirable produced water into an asset.

Regulatory Considerations

Because the Delaware Basin straddles two states, it is important to understand the guidelines and processes of pursuing produced-water recycling operations in Texas as opposed to New Mexico.

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