News in brief

A roundup of the main developments regarding water in the oil & gas industry for February 1- 27
According to a new report published this month by Global Water Intelligence, The Future of the Water Midstream, spending on Permian Basin water management is taking off alongside growing water volumes. The report projects total expenditures will grow from $22.1 billion in 2020 to $26.4 billion by 2025 as several trends shake out in the water sourcing and supply, transportation, disposal, and treatment and recycling segments.
Legislation to ban hydraulic fracturing was introduced in both the US Senate and House of Representatives. The companion bills, launched by Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, would see activities within 2,500 feet of schools and residences phased out by 2021, expanding into a full onshore and offshore ban by 2025.
A New Mexico judge ordered a withdrawal of seven authorizations held by Intrepid Potash to divert water from the Pecos River. The company was given two options: stop pumping the water within 10 days, or present its case in court before February 28.Several groups, including the Carlsbad Irrigation District, sued Intrepid because of its claims to water rights for up to 34,315 acre feet of water (266 million bbl) per year for diversion, meaning the water could be sold to other industries( such as oil & gas).
NGL Energy Partners announced two new long-term produced water gathering and disposal agreements with unnamed operators in the Delaware Basin. The company said in a press release that activities under the agreements, covering total acreage dedications of 20,000 acres, would begin in July.
The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (WDEQ) issued a violation notice to Aethon Energy after observing contaminants such as free oil and iron sulfide at a produced water discharge point above the Alkali and Badwater creeks in Fremont County. If the company does not bring its current operations into compliance, it runs the risk of being rejected an extension to its discharge permit for the Moneta Divide field. WDEQ has already revised a draft discharge to maintain the 2 million gal/d discharge limit currently in place, rather than expand it to allow up to 8.27 million gal/d of discharge in line with plans to drill more than 4,000 new wells at the field.
Oregon’s Department of Energy issued a violation notice to a Chemical Waste Management-operated hazardous waste facility over the illegal disposal of nearly 2.57 million pounds of technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive material (TENORM) between 2016 and 2019. The waste was transported to the facility by Oilfield Waste Logistics, which was contracted by water midstream company Goodnight Midstream to manage waste resulting from produced water treatment operations in North Dakota.
Canadian operator Suncor has received approval from the Alberta government for its 40,000-bbl/d Meadow Creek West project, which is an extension of the previously approved 80,000-bbl/d Meadow Creek East project. Suncor CEO Mark Little has said the steam-assisted gravity drainage development will likely be deferred while the company works on lower-cost oil sands projects such as Firebag.
Oil sands operator Teck Resources withdrew its application for the 260,000-bbl/d bitumen mine project. The $15.6 billion development faced obstacles related to low oil prices, lack of pipeline capacity and opposition from indigenous and environmental groups.
National oil company (NOC) Saudi Aramco has received a green light for its $110 billion Jafurah field project, which will become the largest unconventional gas development outside the US. The NOC plans to use seawater for hydraulic fracturing. The field is slated to come online by 2024 and produce 2.2 bcf/d by 2036.
Centennial Resources has agreed to sell its southern Delaware Basin produced water infrastructure to WaterBridge Resources for a total of $225 million. Expected to close in March 2020, the transaction includes a 15-year water management contract. Once finalized, WaterBridge will serve more than 23 producers with 600,000 acres under long-term agreements in that portion of the basin.
Texas’ Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG) held an exploratory meeting in a run-up to its establishment of the Subsurface Water and Energy Laboratory (SWEL) research consortium. Participants heard presentations on topics such as water policy, produced water management, water quality, environmental impacts and more. Attendees also engaged with SWEL facilitators on the benefits that such a consortium could bring to various stakeholders in Texas.