Seeking Clarity in Murky Waters
The produced water conundrum in the Permian Basin will be solved by a mix of recycling, disposal, and future breakthroughs in technology currently being studied.
In the oil-rich Permian Basin of west Texas and southern New Mexico, water serves as catalyst and crutch, ally and enemy, asset and liability. It’s water that allows producers to fracture high-potential wells in the region and get robust volumes of oil to flow back to the wellhead. It’s water that has allowed basinwide production to climb from pre-pandemic levels of around 4.7 million to over 5.4 million B/D in November 2022—a new record for the region.
However, along with the oil that flows out of each well comes produced water. A lot of it.