Produced water recycling has become a critical aspect of modern unconventional development, especially in areas of West Texas, Western Oklahoma, and Southeastern New Mexico. Many of these areas are prone to droughts, have limited fresh water, and have sensitive surface and groundwater systems. The New Mexico Delaware Basin is a prime example of an environment where reliance on fresh water for use in oil & gas development has increasingly become a challenge. This paper will review the regulatory framework involved with recycling using containment systems as well as variations that do not involve the permitting of containment systems. Also key to the success of recycling are Class II Disposal Well, which can also be a challenge in an area with booming activity. Further, the paper will present some of the challenges associated with recycling facilities, including groundwater elevations, karst features, a robust regulatory structure, remote locations, use of temporary produced water lines, tracking produced water volumes and qualities, as well as other details. Lastly, comparisons to some common practices in other basins (e.g., Texas, Oklahoma) will also be presented.
Primary Author/Conference Presenter:
J. Daniel Arthur
Tulsa, OK USA
Gavin James, P.E., All Consulting
Bill Hochheiser, ALL Consulting