Water management

The Produced Water Conundrum Grows Across Unconventionals

When it comes to produced water from US shale plays, it’s either recycle and reuse or throw it away—and both are easier said than done.

aerial view of an XRI water recycling facility in the Permian Basin
An aerial view of an XRI water recycling facility in the Permian Basin.
Source: XRI.

Shale players have a love-hate relationship with water. It’s an essential ally going into downhole to help proliferate fractures in the subsurface and free up stuck hydrocarbons. It’s a parasite coming out—a briny byproduct that can easily outpace oil production from any given well.

Likewise, operators must deal with water management on dual fronts. The first is sourcing the water to be used in the fracturing of the well.

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