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News in brief

A roundup of the main developments regarding water in the oil & gas industry for May 30-June 30.

North America

Mallard Exploration granted Colorado’s Taproot Rockies Midstream a long-term 60,000-acre dedication in the northeast DJ Basin. Taproot will provide produced water and oil gathering services. The deal value was undisclosed.

Technology company Data Gumbo and a group of 10 operators known as the OOC Oil & Gas Blockchain Consortium completed a pilot using the GumboNet blockchain network to automate water haulage and invoicing operations. The pilot was conducted at Equinor-operated fields with water services provider Nuverra Environmental Solutions and an unnamed disposal company. According to a consortium press release, the use of blockchain has reduced process workflow from 90-120 days to 1-7 days and cut the current 16 steps performed by nine, all without manual intervention.

New Mexico’s Oil Conservation Division (OCD) issued fines to water-hauling company Windmill Trucking ($8,700) and operator Advanced Energy Partners Hat Mesa ($7,600) for illegally transporting and dumping produced water on public land. This is the first time the OCD has levied fines since it was given that authority under House Bill 546, passed in 2019.

Operator Range Resources has been criminally charged with negligence and ordered to pay a total of $150,000. A grand jury investigation found that a leaking produced water pond at one site had contaminated a nearby family’s water supply, while a leak from a pond at another site contaminated a water tributary and farmland.

ExxonMobil and the New Mexico State University (NMSU) will collaborate on research related to beneficial reuse of produced water. The research program will be led by NMSU research professor Pei Xu and is separate from the operator’s membership in the New Mexico Produced Water Research Consortium.

The US Bureau of Reclamation will provide $5.8 million in total funding for 22 lab- and pilot-scale desalination research projects. Three of the projects chosen were related to produced water treatment: Epiphany Solar Water Systems will work on portable mechanical vapor compression systems, the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology is working on a zero-liquid discharge project that incorporates direct contact membrane distillation and crystallization technologies, and the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station will use processes including electrocoagulation and humidification-dehumidification.

Water hauling company SBT Trucking is facing fines of up to $2 million in North Dakota over the illegal dumping of produced water on private land. The water, which originated in from a Marathon Oil field, was dumped in 2018, but full remediation has not occurred, prompting the state’s Department of Environmental Quality to request the penalties.

South America

The president of Colombia’s National Hydrocarbons Agency, Armando Zamora, told local media that the country’s first hydraulic fracturing pilot contracts would be awarded in September or October, and that environmental licensing processes would start before the end of the year. 


Norwegian company Stauper Offshore was contracted by TechnipFMC to upgrade compact flotation units (CFU) at Equinor’s Martin Linge platform in the North Sea. The work will include retrofitting existing equipment with Stauper’s patented CFU internals.

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