Events highlight water and oil divide

Two recent conferences in Austin inserted oil and gas sessions in the programs. No one from an oil and gas company attended either...
Two recent conferences in Austin inserted oil and gas sessions in the programs. No one from an oil and gas company attended either.
The 33rd WateReuse conference attracted about 600 people. Water reuse is crucial to water management in today's onshore oil and gas business. But "reuse" in the oil patch is nothing like the reuse practiced by the folks at this conference. No one from the oil business was there to explain the difference.
The seventh Texas Desalination Conference convened a day after the WateReuse Symposium closed. Held up the road about nine blocks, about 80 people sat around tables in a darkened ball room.
The second day offered a panel discussion on produced water. This happened to be the first for the conference and represented a detente. There was tension in the early years of the association, founded in 2011.
The mission of the Texas Desalination Association is “…to encourage better use of Texas’ water resources through the development of brackish, marine and other saline waters.” The “better use” is drinking water.
According to Kyle Frazier, the director, “Initially the oil and gas companies saw us as a threat. By treating brackish water to drinking water quality we create a market price. We would price something they could get for the cost of drilling a well and pumping.”
According to Frazier, there was also concern that drilling a bunch of wells near the oil patch might reveal something untoward. Analysis of the well water might reveal something unpleasant, like migration. But time has allayed those concerns and the relationship has improved.
The produced water panel was highly knowledgeable but lacked representation from operators. Steve Coffee, president of the Produced Water Society, presented an overview issues. John Tintero, former head of the Texas Railroad Commission, railed against federal regulation. Holly Churman, a consultant from GHD, shared an economic model of produced water management. After the presentations, there were questions, but no real dialogue.



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