[Editor's note: A version of this story appears in the July 2021 issue of Oil and Gas Investor magazine.]
For an industry less than a decade into its development, water management has emerged as a crucial component of upstream oil and gas development. And, in those seven years, the water management sector has seen remarkable growth and evolution.
In many cases, producers have created subsidiaries solely for their water management operations. Some have even sold them to third-party providers. The water management industry started simply as a means to acquire freshwater for fracking and dispose the vast amounts of produced water. Its evolution has included the development of hundreds of miles of gathering and distribution pipelines, primarily in the water-starved Permian Basin, and the creation of reliable and secure water sources.
And, like every other facet of the oil and gas industry, water management has now matured to the point of automation and the adoption of digital technologies that make water acquisition, disposal, reuse and recycling more efficient than ever.