- EOG’s Commitment
- Carbon Disclosure Project Water Program
- How Is Water Used in a Crude Oil or Natural Gas Well?
- How Does This Compare to Other Uses of Water?
- What Sources of Water Are Used by EOG?
- Water Issues are Different in Each Geographic Region
- EOG’s Water Management Activities in the Marcellus Shale
- EOG’s Water Management Activities in the South Texas Eagle Ford
- EOG’s Water Management Activities in the North Dakota Bakken
- EOG’s Water Management Activities in the Barnett Shale
- EOG’s Water Management Activities in the West Texas and New Mexico Permian Basin
- EOG’s Water Management Activities in Colorado and Wyoming
EOG is committed to actively managing and conserving water resources in the communities where it operates. For example, EOG has implemented a
EOG continues to test water reuse technologies, take steps to minimize overall water usage in the drilling and completion of wells, meet or exceed permit requirements, properly dispose of produced water, evaluate alternative sources of water and otherwise responsibly manage the water used, produced and disposed of during its operations to protect the environment.Top of Page
Carbon Disclosure Project Water Program
Consistent with its commitment to transparency, EOG participated in the Carbon Disclosure Project’s water program for 2014, 2015 and 2016, and expects to participate in this program in future years as well. EOG’s participation in this program allows investors and the public to better understand EOG’s water stewardship practices. EOG’s participation in this program also allows EOG to benchmark its business and operations against that of its peer companies.Top of Page
How Is Water Used in a Crude Oil or Natural Gas Well?
Water is an essential component in the development of energy resources throughout the world, including coal, nuclear, biofuels, solar, crude oil and natural gas. It is both a required resource necessary for the drilling and completion of crude oil and natural gas wells and a byproduct of the production process.
Water is used in the drilling process to help cool the drill bit as it breaks the rock and to carry rock cuttings out of the borehole to the surface.
After drilling, the target formation may be stimulated with hydraulic fracturing. A mixture – typically composed of more than 99 percent water and sand and less than one percent highly diluted chemical additives that are typically found in common household items (such as laundry detergents, cleaners and beauty products) – is pumped at a calculated rate and pressure through the wellbore into the crude oil or natural gas-bearing rock formation. (See: Corporate Responsibility – Hydraulic Fracturing – How Hydraulic Fracturing Works) This creates carefully designed millimeter-wide cracks or fractures in the target formation. The newly created fractures are propped open by the sand grains. This allows the crude oil or natural gas to flow from tight (low permeability) rock formations into the wellbore.
While the sand grains used in hydraulic fracturing remain underground in the rock formation to hold open the fractures, a percentage of the water and additives flow back through the well during the initial days of production. Also, other
In order to stabilize the wellbore and protect groundwater and drinking water aquifers during drilling, completion and production operations, state regulatory authorities for many years have implemented and enforced strict requirements on how all crude oil and natural gas wells should be constructed. Each wellbore must be encased in steel casing, called surface casing, and must be surrounded by cement to create an additional safeguard for drinking water aquifers. Each state establishes casing and cementing specifications and determines the depth of the required surface casing to provide a secure barrier between the wellbore and any drinking water aquifers. EOG complies with and often exceeds state regulatory requirements by conducting additional monitoring and testing to confirm the integrity of its surface casing and cementing programs. (See: Corporate Responsibility – Hydraulic Fracturing – Best Practices – Wellbore Integrity)Top of Page
How Does This Compare to Other Uses of Water?
The water used in crude oil and natural gas operations is significantly less than the water used for the production of many other energy resources and for other industrial, agricultural, recreational and municipal purposes. According to the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Geological Survey, crude oil and natural gas operations use a small amount of the nation’s water resources compared to other societal uses.
While there are regional differences, the water used for crude oil and natural gas operations typically represents less than one to five percent of total water usage. For example, hydraulic fracturing accounts for only about 0.5 percent of all the water used across Texas. As the Barnett Shale Energy Education Council has observed: “[I]rrigation is the biggest user of water in Texas, accounting for 61 percent. Municipal use follows with 27 percent, then manufacturing at 6 percent, steam electric power at 3 percent and livestock at 2 percent. The last 1 percent is made up of oil and gas and other mining activities.” As University of Texas Professor Rusty Todd wrote in The Wall Street Journal: “lawns [in Texas] consume roughly 18 times more water than fracking does.” In the Marcellus Shale area of the Appalachian Basin, electric power generation accounts for more than 70 percent of water consumption. Other industrial and municipal uses unrelated to oil and gas operations are also significant in this region.
The Ground Water Protection Council has estimated that 300 million gallons of water are used to produce a single day’s supply of newsprint. While this example represents continuing consumption, the water used for a crude oil or natural gas well is a
Water intensity is a commonly used metric for comparing the water consumption levels required to produce different energy sources – for example, the gallons of water used per MMBtu (million British thermal units) of energy produced. EOG’s water intensity rate – that is, the water used by EOG in completing its U.S. wells relative to the potential MMBtu value of the oil and gas reserves associated with such wells – was as set forth below:
Water intensity rate
(gallons per MMBtu)
By comparison, the water intensity rates of other energy sources are as follows (according to the U.S. Department of Energy):
|Energy Source||Gallons of Water Used per MMBtu of Energy Produced|
|Coal (no slurry transport)||2-8|
|Coal (with slurry transport)||13-32|
|Nuclear (processed uranium ready to use in plant)||8-14|
|Synfuel (coal gasification)||11-26|
|Fuel Ethanol (from irrigated corn)||2,510-29,100|
|Biodiesel (from irrigated soy)||14,000-75,000|
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What Sources of Water Are Used by EOG?
EOG uses various sources of water depending on the region where the drilling takes place. The sources of water include private and public ponds, lakes, rivers and creeks, potable and
While the water used for crude oil and natural gas operations is significantly less than the water used for the production of many other energy resources and other industrial, agricultural, recreational and municipal purposes, EOG recognizes the importance of responsibly managing and conserving water resources in the communities where it operates.
EOG management formed a special project team, with representatives from each of EOG’s U.S. operating areas, to accelerate pursuit of best practices in water management. This project included the full life cycle of water used in operations from acquisition through transportation, storage, treatment,
EOG is also working with a number of technology companies to develop water reuse technologies that can accommodate high volumes of produced water. In addition, EOG is conducting test projects using other technologies designed to clean water for reuse. Each geographic area in North America has different challenges relating to geology, the amount of chlorides and other minerals and impurities in the water and available infrastructure, and, therefore, different technologies are required in different regions.Top of Page
Water Issues are Different in Each Geographic Region
In addition to geologic differences, each geographic region has unique needs and challenges when it comes to identifying sources of water, the ability to reuse water and methods for water disposal. Some areas have an abundance of water sources, but limited disposal facilities and other infrastructure. In other areas, climate and geographic conditions and the utilization of water for irrigation, electric power generation, industrial uses, and commercial, municipal and residential purposes results in greater competition for the sourcing and utilization of water.
As state and regional authorities and water management districts take these needs, challenges and differences into account in regulating water sourcing, usage and disposal, EOG takes steps to meet or exceed all regulatory requirements. In those instances where regulations restrict the reuse of produced water, the use of treated industrial or municipal wastewater or the use of newer technologies in water treatment, EOG has worked with regulatory authorities to promote water conservation and efficiencies.Top of Page
EOG’s Water Management Activities in the Marcellus Shale
In the Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale, EOG has implemented several practices that exceed regulatory requirements in the use, handling and disposal of water and additives used in hydraulic fracturing and the completion process.
All completion fluid and produced water is stored in lined tanks. Special protective liners are placed on the well pad under the storage tanks and under the area where trucks deliver the completion fluids. In addition, containment barriers are placed around the perimeter of each well pad.
During multi-well completions, all produced water is filtered, rebalanced and reused. As part of this process, particulates are filtered from the water, and the produced water is tested to determine appropriate quantities of additives and dilution before reuse.
During 2012, EOG completed the design and construction of a water reuse facility in Clearfield County that provides for the storage of up to five million gallons of produced water as well as facilities for filtering and rebalancing produced water for reuse. These facilities also provide for the loading and
During periods when there are no completion operations, produced water is disposed of in properly permitted and regulated injection wells. All injection wells are regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and applicable state agencies pursuant to EPA regulations. EOG does not dispose of any produced water in publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) or commercial water disposal sites that discharge treated water into surface streams, rivers or waterways.
In accordance with regulatory requirements, EOG conducts
In addition, in connection with its Pennsylvania operations, EOG uses various sources of water and has taken steps to minimize the use of public water supplies. For example, EOG has partnered with the Blue Valley Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) Treatment Plant and Fish Culture Station in Brockway, Pennsylvania, which treats AMD water from a former coal mining operation near Brandy Camp Creek and utilizes the treated water in its operation of a fish hatchery. EOG utilizes some of the treated water for its Pennsylvania operations, and EOG’s financial support allowed the plant to continue operations when its state grants ran out. Sufficient money has also been generated to continue to operate the fish hatchery at the site and feed the fish. This is a
EOG’s Water Management Activities in the South Texas Eagle Ford
EOG understands the importance of South Texas water resources. Where feasible, EOG’s Eagle Ford operations continue to use
EOG is also developing methods to reuse water from producing wells to supplement its hydraulic fracturing operations in the Eagle Ford. EOG has evaluated numerous treatment technologies and has conducted multiple test programs to assess the feasibility of treating produced water in the Eagle Ford. The first permanent treatment facility began operation in La Salle County in 2014 and processed, in total, over 1.5 million barrels of water in 2014 and 2015 for reuse in EOG’s hydraulic fracturing operations.
In addition to commencing the use of its water recycling facility in La Salle County, EOG also commenced the use of mobile produced water recycling/reuse units in 2015. One such unit processed over 400,000 barrels of water in 2015 for reuse in EOG’s hydraulic fracturing operations. These units provide flexibility to EOG’s operations, as such units can transition among drilling locations in coordination with drilling and completion activities.
Along with other select STEER (South Texas Energy & Economic Roundtable) members, EOG is participating in a collaborative study with the Evergreen Underground Water Conservation District (EUWCD) that seeks to maximize the utilization of brackish water for oil and gas activities in the South Texas area. This study, which includes data sharing along with
EOG is also participating in the Eagle Ford Water Consortium in an effort to share best practices in the management of water resources with other Eagle Ford operators.Top of Page
EOG’s Water Management Activities in the North Dakota Bakken
As part of its ongoing efforts to reuse water in the Bakken, EOG began operating a new water facility in the Bakken in 2012. The facility, which took two and a half years to design and build, allows produced water from EOG’s operations to be treated and reused as an industrial brine solution in the company’s well workover and production operations. Since the EOG facility began operations in 2012, the company has reduced the amount of brine fluid needed from
In addition, the company has developed a process that allows it to reuse produced water to formulate fluids required for its drilling operations. This process also allows EOG to reduce its water disposal volumes.
EOG has also built a new water distribution system to support its operations in the Bakken region. This system, which consists of more than 40 miles of dual 8-inch and 12-inch pipelines, allows water used in the completion process to be carried directly to the well pads and, as a result, reduces EOG’s well completion costs. The system also reduces the amount of water transported by truck, thus reducing the amount of truck traffic in Bakken-area communities.
These infrastructure additions and processes have reduced EOG’s operating costs and provided other benefits, such as reduced truck traffic on local roads. As a result, EOG has invested in additional water sourcing, produced water gathering and water disposal infrastructure in the Bakken and is planning further water management projects for its Bakken operations.Top of Page
EOG’s Water Management Activities in the Barnett Shale
EOG is one of the founding members of the Barnett Shale Water Conservation and Management Committee. The committee’s members are committed to developing efficient and responsible best management practices for water used during drilling, completion and production operations for wells in the Fort Worth Barnett Shale. These practices are inclusive of conservation, environmental protection and safe operations.
During 2012, EOG supported the committee’s collaborative role with the Unconventional Gas Program of the Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America and the National Energy Technology Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy in a
“Technologies and knowledge from this project are important to all of us as we work to conserve and manage the water we use as well as to protect the surface and ground waters in the areas where we operate. By working together on projects like this, we are able to share information on new, innovative water management techniques.”
EOG works closely with several groundwater conservation districts spanning the Barnett Shale area in its continuing efforts to minimize and account for fresh water usage. Currently, fresh water is efficiently handled to avoid waste by installing a system of connected holding ponds lined with impermeable plastic.
EOG has evaluated
EOG will continue to consider methods to reuse produced water and to minimize the use of fresh water in its Barnett Shale operations. For example, EOG relinquished its rights to several Trinity Aquifer water wells to the landowners, which provides additional fresh water for domestic and livestock purposes.Top of Page
EOG’s Water Management Activities in the West Texas and New Mexico Permian Basin
In the Midland Basin in West Texas, EOG is sourcing most of its water from aquifers below those normally used for drinking water and continues to seek sources of
Also in the Midland Basin, multiple water treatment systems have been
In EOG’s Delaware Basin operations in New Mexico, EOG has funded and conducted numerous field trials to study viable water reuse technologies and related scale prevention chemical programs. EOG is currently installing an extensive produced water gathering system that will facilitate centralized water processing, storage and
EOG’s Water Management Activities in Colorado and Wyoming
In Colorado, EOG voluntarily participated in a groundwater quality sampling program launched in 2012 by the Colorado Department of Natural Resources and the Colorado Oil and Gas Association. Pursuant to the program, operators that drill new wells collect groundwater samples both before and after drilling. The information is then reported to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) which manages and publicizes the data. This
In addition to this voluntary program, EOG is taking steps to comply with rules adopted in 2013 by the COGCC and with rules recently adopted by the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, in each case requiring the pre- and
In its DJ Basin play, EOG is evaluating the sourcing of water from a deep aquifer that could provide 100 percent of the water required for EOG’s drilling and completion operations in the basin. The water in this aquifer is not suitable for farming, municipal or household uses, but it is considered suitable for oil and gas operations. If this source of water is able to be utilized, it is expected to eliminate the use of water from surface aquifers used for farming, municipal and household uses.
In addition, EOG has drilled water wells and installed water gathering and distribution infrastructure in its Rockies plays. This infrastructure allows water to be transported directly to EOG’s well sites, decreasing EOG’s need for trucking services and, as a result, EOG’s well completion costs. This infrastructure also benefits local communities by reducing the amount of truck traffic. EOG has also invested in produced water gathering, recycling and disposal infrastructure in the Rockies, providing additional cost savings to EOG and further reductions in truck traffic on local roads.Top of Page
Hydraulic Fracturing Water Usage (FracFocus.org Chemical Disclosure Registry)
Prudent and Sustainable Water Management and Disposal Alternatives Applicable to Shale Gas Development, J. Daniel Arthur, P.E. (Presented to The Ground Water Protection Council, January 2009)
Water Use in the United States (U.S. Geological Survey)
In the Know on H20 (Marcellus Shale Coalition)
Water Resources and Use for Hydraulic Fracturing in the Marcellus Shale Region, J. Daniel Arthur, P.E., et al (The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), U.S. Department of Energy, Oil & Natural Gas Projects). See Also: NETL
Water-Thirsty Golf Courses Need to Go Green (NPR 2008)
Water Sources and Demand for the Hydraulic Fracturing of Oil and Gas Wells in Colorado from 2010 through 2015, Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission
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