Oklahoma’s Water for 2060 Produced Water Working Group (PWWG) on April 26 released its study report as part of a review of alternatives for produced water disposal from oil and gas operations in the state. The report was previewed at the ECOS Spring Meeting Shale Gas Caucus session by Oklahoma Secretary of Energy and Environment Michael Teague.
In support of the working group’s efforts, a technical study team conducted a preliminary investigation of the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of several scenarios. The report identified several options that warrant further study, including treatment and reuse of produced water by local oil and gas operations, transfer to areas of high demand, and use of evaporation technologies.
“This report is an important first step into the investigation of produced water use,” said Teague. “It will serve as an important guide as we continue further detailed research of these alternatives that will undoubtedly be the next critical steps in this ongoing effort.”
In December 2015, Governor Mary Fallin charged a 17-member fact-finding group led by the Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB) to study and recommend ways that water produced in oil and natural gas operations may be recycled or reused as part of Oklahoma’s ongoing efforts to promote water supply reliability and drought resiliency across multiple water user sectors.
“I thank the working group for completing this initial review of the opportunities and challenges associated with reducing produced water injection as well as reducing the use of fresh water in oil and gas production,” said Fallin. “…Our agencies are working diligently on responsible and cost-effective ways to harness Oklahoma’s marginal quality waters for use as a way to better manage Oklahoma’s fresh water supplies.”
Members of the workgroup represented Oklahoma’s oil and gas industry along with a wide array of potential water users and stakeholders, including power generation, agriculture, public water providers, state regulators, environmental non-governmental organizations, and research organizations and universities.