News in brief

A roundup of the main developments regarding water in the oil & gas industry for April 11-27

North America

Top oil & gas-producing US states are weighing measures to ease the downturn’s squeeze on the industry. Following testimony from impacted parties, Texas regulators postponed until May 5th a vote on prorating state oil production. Oklahoma and New Mexico will allow producers to shut in uneconomical production for some time without having to relinquish their leases. North Dakota is considering financial aid options to allow producers to restart production, including tax breaks, loans and direct payments.
Shareholders of midstream company Tallgrass Energy approved a $6.3 billion buyout by Blackstone Infrastructure Partners. The infrastructure fund had previously held a 44% stake in Tallgrass, whose subsidiary BNN Water Solutions operates more than 300 miles of water supply and gathering pipelines and other water assets in seven US basins.
The US Department of Energy plans to provide $18 million in research grants over three years to “ensure the continued availability of rare earth elements—or effective substitutes,” which can be used in applications including renewable energy development. In 2020, $6 million will be allocated. The funding could appeal to water technology companies working to extract elements such as lithium from produced water.
The price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures dropped to its lowest point ever on April 20, closing at -$37.63/bbl. For the first time since crude futures began trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange in 1983, WTI prices went negative as May contract holders scrambled to sell to avoid being stuck with deliveries at a time when Cushing crude storage is near capacity.
Ring Energy agreed to sell its Texas Delaware Basin assets to an undisclosed party. In addition to 20,000 acres and oil & gas infrastructure in Reeves and Culberson counties, the transaction will include 39 miles of produced water gathering pipelines and six saltwater disposal wells.
A subsidiary of Antelope Water Management merged with Probitas Water Solutions, creating an entity focused on greenfield infrastructure development and distressed asset acquisitions in the Permian and Appalachian basins. As part of the deal, Probitas’ Tony Gutta, Chris Stanton and Ryan Vernon have joined Antelope. The Probitas team brings experience from Shalewater Solutions and Hillstone Environmental Partners, the latter of which was purchased by NGL Energy Partners in November 2019.
JWN Energy announced finalists for its second annual Energy Excellence Awards. ConocoPhillips Canada was selected for the execution of its Montney Water Supply Pipeline, for which it worked with the Halfway River First Nation to determine a pipeline route and minimize environmental impacts. The pipeline supplies water for the major’s shale operations in British Columbia. Another finalist was producer Velvet Energy, chosen for an initiative involving water hauling reductions by 90% and well completions with 100% recycled produced water in the Montney Shale’s Gold Creek area in 2019. Winners will be announced starting May 7th.

Middle East

The Omani government has approved a plan to establish Energy Development Oman (EDO), a holding company under which state-owned Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) will operate. Under the scheme, PDO will continue to pursue hydrocarbons development, while EDO will focus on complementary areas including water management and alternative energies.


OPEC and allies on April 12 finalized an agreement to reduce global oil production by 9.7 million bbl/d starting May 1. The cuts will fall to 8 million bbl/d for July-December 2020, and settle at 6 million bbl/d from January 2021 through April 2022. Russia and Saudi Arabia agreed to the largest reductions, with each scaling back by 2.5 million bbl/d in May and June. The unprecedented deal has had little impact on oil prices, as even with the cuts, total global oil supply far exceeds demand.