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News in Brief

On July 11, California Governor Gavin Newsom directed his chief of staff to fire Ken Harris, head of the state’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources. Newsom came to the decision…

On July 11, California Governor Gavin Newsom directed his chief of staff to fire Ken Harris, head of the state’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources. Newsom came to the decision after discovering that fracking permit approvals had doubled during H1 2019 from the previous year. The permitting figures came to light in a report published by advocacy groups FracTracker Alliance and Consumer Watchdog that also identified investment ties between several state industry regulators and oil and gas companies. Newsom, who took office in January, has been outspoken about his desire to phase out fracking in California.

July saw forward movement on the water-recycling front in New Mexico’s Permian, with both Antelope Water Midstream and Solaris Midstream announcing updates for Lea and Eddy counties. Antelope launched a 30-day open season to obtain volume commitments from operators for two planned recycling facilities, each of which will be able to treat 100,000 bbls/d of water and have a 1 million bbl storage capacity.

Solaris’ Lobo Ranch plant can treat 80,000 bbl/d of water and provide nearly 200,000 bbl/d of recycled water for well completions. The company also said it would construct the other facility, being built in the city of Bronco, with the same treatment capacity.

The University of Texas will receive federal funding to “field-test technology designed to improve oil recovery in fractured oil-wet carbonate reservoirs by using injected water engineered with ionic modifications,” the US Department of Energy (DOE) announced on July 18. The DOE will contribute nearly $8 million of the total $9.92 million allocated for the project.

According to data analytics company Kayrros, more than 1,100 completed frack wells in the Permian went unreported in 2018. The statement, released at the end of the month, suggests the basin’s actual well count for the year was 20% higher and implies that Permian wells are more costly and less productive. They also suggest activities in the basin require more sand and water than previously thought.

A new study from the Virginia Tech College of Science showed that induced seismicity can continue for years after produced water reinjection stops due to pressures stemming from differences in fluid density. Covering parts of Kansas and Oklahoma, the study also revealed a link between deeper water migration and high-magnitude quakes.

Several partnerships between midstream and companies and producers were announced this month. Marathon Oil granted Bison a 15-year contract to provide produced water infrastructure management services in a 5.4 million-acre swath of Oklahoma’s SCOOP, STACK and Merge area. Meanwhile, Lagoon Water Solutions purchased Continental Resources’ eastern STACK water assets for $85 million. The deal includes a gathering system, recycling plant and three disposal wells in Oklahoma, and will see Lagoon manage the operator’s water supplies and waste.

Finally, Solaris Midstream entered into a joint venture agreement with Concho Resources, under which it will exchange cash and equity for 13 disposal wells and 40 miles of pipeline in the northern Delaware Basin. The arrangement will also see Solaris manage Concho’s water streams across 1.6 million acres mainly in Eddy county, New Mexico.

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