Basic Energy Services is launching a new subsidiary that will move and dispose oilfield wastewater in the Permian Basin along with other basins.

Basic Energy Services CEO Thomas Monroe Patterson said his company has been functioning as an upstream company with a midstream company embedded. But now Agua Libre Midstream will have all of the company’s water assets as its own distinction.

The new subsidiary is set to launch either in either late August or early September.


“What we have done basically is taken our midstream assets and split them off into a subsidiary where we are going to report all of the income and activity for those particular assets from the rest of Basic Energy Services,” said Patterson, whose Fort Worth-based company has three divisions: well services, completions and water services.

Agua Libre Midstream will take over the water services division, which includes the wastewater pipelines and the 86 saltwater disposal wells that are spread out over the Permian, Eagle Ford, Haynesville, Midcontinent, North Texas and the Bakken. The Permian, alone, has 33 of Agua Libre’s saltwater disposal wells, which is why the initial capital investment will start there.

“The reason the Permian has so many is because it’s the busiest basin and it’s one of the highest water producing basins,” Patterson said. “Its barrels of water per barrels of oil is higher in the Permian than a lot of other places around the country.”

For efficiency and cost savings, Agua Libre will rely on pipelines rather than traditional tanker trucks to move the wastewater from the oilfields. That decision is necessary because of the volumes of water that must be moved in the Permian and the other basins now under Agua Libre.

“When you look at the life a well and the life of a field, really it’s a field mentality,” Patterson said. “When you look at a field of dense production and if you can put gathering for oil and gas and gathering for waste stream like water versus having to truck those from individual batteries you can reduce the lease operating expense by a significant margin. For water you could almost cut the disposal costs in half if you move it to pipeline.”

Terrance Harris can be contacted at