The case has been made that with record oil and natural gas growth in Texas and New Mexico, the steady increase of produced water volumes threatens traditional disposal options. While data and insight technology improvements have yielded various tools designed to collect and aggregate produced water data from a variety of sources, most of these solutions do not improve how data are collected and disseminated or provide a straightforward means to increase understanding and salience to take action.
Waterfield Midstream, founded in June 2018 by experts in upstream oil and gas water management, through a partnership with Blackstone Energy Partners, provides water management systems for operators in the Permian Basin. The company plans to develop some of the most extensive water infrastructures in the oil and gas industry. Waterfield has roots in upstream and midstream, enabling them to focus on mitigating the subsurface challenges of water injection and production and developing efficient and scalable infrastructure solutions. Waterfield leverages B3’s oilfield water intelligence data to support its in-house analysis. Without access to transparent water data from B3’s geospatial online platform and water data experts, it would be near impossible to efficiently and confidently manage resources within a rapidly changing market.
The term “oil field” has been used for decades to describe a region of oil production, along with the associated infrastructure and workforce. The Permian Basin is one of the world’s most prolific oil fields. Waterfield Midstream also considers the Permian Basin to be a prolific “water field” because of the vast volumes of water, water-related infrastructure and expertise needed to manage development operations.
B3’s OilFieldH20 Platform enables access to this “water field,” specifically produced water data, so that companies can identify new market opportunities and prioritize development of future opportunities. All data and analytics, features and capabilities are available in one interface—for access to Texas Railroad Commission, New Mexico Oil Conservation Division data and permits, and more. Waterfield also utilizes B3’s add-on data connector, B3’s Drillinginfo Connector, enabling holistic access to rigs, wells, completion production and lease data, next to B3’s oilfield water intelligence data (Figure 1).
In Texas and New Mexico, the Railroad Commission and the Oil Conservation Division, respectively, manage the disposition of produced water. This includes oversight of permitting, construction, operation, inspection and reporting of monthly injection volume and pressure for Underground Injection Control (UIC) Class II disposal wells (both Texas and New Mexico have UIC primacy). However, there is growing concern that business- as-usual water disposal may result in suboptimal use of limited subsurface disposal capacity; more widespread, frequent and powerful seismic events; and/or elevated subsurface pressure that jeopardizes the economic viability of Permian Basin oil and gas development.
B3’s OilfieldH20 Platform leverages a proprietary data technology process to analyze various sources and formats so that the industry can instantly search and visualize Permian Basin water and disposal assets all in one place. With the use of the OilFieldH20 Platform, Waterfield can access water wells, disposal wells, surface owner parcels, water quality reports, water volumes, fracking water use and more. With the mapping and analysis tools available, these data are the core component for access to water assets, development trends, business activity and ownership information.
Waterfield Midstream operates in the Midland Basin in Martin County and Delaware Basin in Reeves County. In November 2018, the company broke ground on a greenfield produced water gathering system in the heart of Martin Country with planned commissioning that was scheduled for June 2019. The system consists of three saltwater disposal wells and 54.7 km (34 miles) of 16-in. pipeline supported by a 15-year acreage dedication from a key producer in the area and optionality to support other producer water needs. In Reeves County, Waterfield manages and operates the water assets, which EagleClaw Midstream acquired from Caprock Midstream. The Reeves County system consists of 93 km (58 miles) of gathering lines and 390,000 bbl/d of permitted water disposal capacity. The system serves several active producers, who have made long-term dedication and/or volume commitments for water services.
With these two major initiatives and more in the pipeline, Waterfield identified B3 as a solution to the company’s challenges because of B3’s 30 years of experience to automate data collection, aggregation and analysis necessary to make more informed strategic decisions. The OilFieldH20 Platform output is presented as an online, interactive geospatial interface with exceptional data visualization, reporting and export capabilities (Figure 2).
Over the past decade, horizontal drilling, well stimulation by hydraulic fracturing and a host of other innovative technologies have been applied to the Permian Basin in southwestern Texas and southeastern New Mexico. The result has been extraordinary: crude oil production has soared by almost 270% and natural gas by 70% since 2007. Billions of dollars have been invested by E&P and midstream companies to build out the infrastructure needed to move the resulting product to the Gulf Coast and other markets. The Permian Basin has become a critical asset for the economic future of the states of Texas and New Mexico as well as the entire U.S. The need for better methods of data collection and analysis has grown due to the challenges of disorganized, disparate data. As the Permian Basin and other major oil producing basins in the U.S. become enormously important, trusted quality data will remain a critical component to cost-effectively achieving business goals and operational success. Reducing the uncertainty associated with water is critical for the oil and gas industry. Companies need to take a long-term approach to water midstream with a focus on emerging technologies that have the potential to create a meaningful change in the industry.
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Today’s featured Forty Under 40 honoree is Nick Vandivere, CEO of ThoughtTrace which is a Houston-based software company using AI and machine learning to streamline operations for the energy industry.
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