Water Management for Area Oil Producers

With 13 and a half months left of water in San Angelo's supply and extremely low rainfall accumulations so far this year; much focus has turned to ways to conserve the water we do have.

Couple that with an oil surge and people are keeping an eye on how much water the oil and gas industries use.

We visit with representatives of one Texas based company who is doing their part to recycle water and help oil and gas companies use as little fresh water as possible.

Bosque Systems is leading a nationwide oil and gas initiative in water management. In the past year alone, with their new processes, the Texas based company has assisted area drillers in saving more than $100 million (M) gallons of fresh water in the Concho Valley.

The Concho Valley remains in severe drought conditions; so far in 2014, San Angelo has received about a half-inch of rainfall making this the driest start to a year in more than a century.

Bosque Systems Vice President of Technology, Robert Mitchell, says conserving fresh water is crucial in our community.

"Cities are running out of fresh water. The lakes are going dry, O.H. Ivie used to be a great fishing lake; now there is hardly a puddle there, and that used to be a childhood lake where I used to go fishing," Mitchell said.

Due to the increase in oil activity including Hydraulic Fracturing, a large amount of water injected in wells comes back to the surface, otherwise known as "flowback", allowing Bosque Systems to recycle that water and reuse for future fracking.

This helps eliminate some strain on fresh water resources; according to Bosque Representatives, it can take up to 8 million (M) gallons to drill a well.

"Frack water is flowing back, meaning they've already fracked the well and water that they put down the well during the fracking process is coming back, including some natural reservoir that may be in that geological formation," Mitchell said.

Vice President of Business Development, Peter Pappas, says partnering with oil and gas companies is West Texas has significantly reduced the dependency of fresh water.

"With the drought that we've experienced and the stress that's been put on the natural resource of fresh water, this leaves this natural resource for the community. The operator will use their produced and "flowback" water so there is less dependency upon that fresh water," Pappas said.

In the past year, Bosque Systems saved five billion (B) gallons of fresh water nationwide, 168 million in San Angelo alone.

"Fresh water is obviously a very important natural resource for us, and the partnership that we have with the operators to reduce that dependency of the fresh water. Have it for the community and crops and those types of things," Pappas said.

Mitchell says every well can be drilled without fresh water.

"If you think about how many households use water and what the average use of household water system, which is 300 gallons. You would think that [with] these systems, about 1,700 households a day we're saving fresh water," Mitchell said.

Mitchell says he feels Bosque is making a positive impact on the community and our environment by conserving our precious natural resource.

"My family lives in West Texas. I grew up in West Texas and a lot of other areas as well; there's a huge need for fresh water," Mitchell said.

*Next week we will take a more in-depth look at the process of recycling that flow back water and the treatment necessary before it's reused at other wells.

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