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News in brief

A roundup of the main developments regarding water in the oil & gas industry for September 13 – 27

The week after it ruled to maintain a moratorium on fracking, Colombia’s Council of State clarified that its decision would “not impede the development of comprehensive investigative pilot projects.” Soon after, Felipe Bayón, CEO of national oil company Ecopetrol, said the company would be prepared to carry out pilots by H2 2020. The company said in March it would spend $500 million on fracking projects over three years.

Antero is idling its $300 million Clearwater treatment facility in West Virginia to evaluate its cost effectiveness in this price environment. Produced water that had gone to the plant will now be disposed of in injection wells or blended with freshwater and recycled in the field. Veolia provided the treatment technology and now operates the facility, which has a capacity to produce 41,000 bbl/d of freshwater.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) published the results of a study showing that disposed produced water from California’s North and South Belridge and Lost Hills oilfields has led to higher than normal salinity levels in nearby groundwater. The USGS began mapping produced water migration from evaporation ponds and injection wells in 2016. State regulations do not require ponds to be lined.

The US Department of Energy chose the National Alliance for Water Innovation (NAWI) to lead its Energy-Water Desalination Hub. The hub has a $100 million, five-year grant and will conduct “early-stage research and development for energy-efficient and cost-competitive desalination technologies and for treating nontraditional water sources for various end uses,” a statement said. NAWI’s partners include four laboratories, 19 universities and 10 private sector entities.

RWI Enhanced Evaporation released its Evaporation 2.0 technology, which the company says can increase produced water evaporation rates by 116% and reduce disposal costs to $0.006/bbl. The floating system concentrates pollutants in ponds by emitting water droplets of at least 75 microns, thus avoiding the issue of dry aerosol drift.

MGX Minerals’ commercial rapid lithium recovery system has arrived at Eureka Resources’ Standing Stone water treatment plant in Pennsylvania. The system will begin extracting lithium from Marcellus shale produced water in Q4 2019.

TPG Capital will not buy a majority stake in Goodnight Midstream from Tailwater Capital. Bloomberg reported that the parties terminated the $930 million deal in July because the water management company did not meet certain conditions before close. This may include the procurement of a contract with an unnamed producer.

NGL Energy Partners said it would buy saltwater disposal company Hillstone Environmental from Golden Gate Capital for approximately $600 million, or around seven times the company’s forecasted EBITDA. The major midstream company plans to integrate Hillstone’s assets – including 19 SWDs, 22 disposal permits and a 680,000 bbl/d pipeline network – into its Delaware Basin system. The deal is expected to be finalized in 2019.

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