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News in brief

A roundup of the main developments regarding water in the oil & gas industry for February 28-March 13.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published an initial version of the National Water Reuse Action Plan (WRAP), which “identifies action leaders, partners, implementation milestones, and target completion dates for 37 actions across 11 strategic themes,” according to the EPA. Some of WRAP’s produced water-specific targets include the completion of an EPA study on produced water management under the Clean Water Act and the identification of research priorities for the New Mexico Produced Water Research Consortium, both of which are set to be achieved in April 2020.

A report published by the American Petroleum Institute concluded that a hydraulic fracturing ban in the US would result in a $7.1 trillion loss in domestic GDP by 2030, as well as an increased reliance on foreign oil & gas. Legislation to completely stop hydraulic fracturing by 2025 was introduced in both the US Senate and House of Representatives in late January.

WaterBridge Resources announced the launch of its 2020 environmental, social and governance (ESG) program. A key tenet of the initiative is the promotion of produced water recycling for new drilling & completions activities. The company built a commercial recycling facility with a 1 million-bbl storage capacity in the southern Delaware Basin in August 2019 and plans to expand its recycling capabilities. WaterBridge also said it estimated that its 1,140-mile pipeline network contributed to 95,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions reductions in 2019 alone, through the replacement of water-hauling trucks.

Antelope Water Management acquired vacuum membrane distillation technology provider KMX Membrane Technologies for an undisclosed amount. The deal will allow Antelope to expand its produced water treatment capabilities, allowing it to potentially become involved in beneficial reuse projects. KMX’s hollow-fiber membrane technology can also be applied to treat water from the mining and industrial sectors, and provides an opportunity for Antelope to investigate mineral recovery from various wastewater streams.

Brent and WTI crude prices dipped as low as $34.36/bbl and $31.13/bbl, respectively, on March 9 following the breakdown of negotiations between Saudi Arabia and Russia over proposed OPEC+ production cuts. Russia’s rejection of the OPEC plan and the raised production targets subsequently announced by both countries has prompted a price war that is especially putting pressure on US shale drillers.

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