News in brief

A roundup of the main developments regarding water in the oil & gas industry for April 28-May 29

South America

Argentina’s government instituted a price floor of $45/bbl for domestically produced oil, in an effort largely aimed at incentivizing continued activity in the Vaca Muerta shale play, where output is estimated to have fallen by as much as 300,000 bbl/d since the beginning of the year. The price floor will remain in place through the end of 2020, so long as Brent crude does not top $45/bbl for 10 straight days. The government also eliminated an 8% tax on the country’ crude exports.

North America

WaterBridge Resources has undergone an executive team change with founder and CEO Stephen M. Johnson stepping down. Johnson will become the vice-chairman of the water midstream company’s board of directors, while co-president and CFO Steven Jones and co-president and COO Jason Long become co-CEOs. Jones and Long will also continue in their current CFO and COO positions.
Following tests to determine the effects of different chemical compounds on several crops, a Food Safety Advisory Panel commissioned by California’s Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board determined that crops irrigated with treated produced water in Kern County are safe for consumption. Though Chevron has provided water for local irrigation for more than two decades, health and safety concerns were raised 2015, prompting further studies.
Water services provider Basic Energy Services said it had successfully tested an automated water management solution with an unnamed US major. According to a press release, the solution can help achieve operational cost savings of at least 4% for produced water disposal activities due to efficiency improvements related to dispatching and ticket handling. Wyoming’s Encore Green Environmental teamed up with Power-on-Demand, a provider of mobile gas turbine generators, to harness flare gas to generate electricity needed for produced water treatment projects. Encore has developed its patent-pending Conservation-by-Design system to treat produced water for agricultural applications.
Canada’s Daily Oil Bulletin announced the winners of its second annual Energy Excellence Awards. Velvet Energy won in Project Excellence for a 2019 initiative involving reducing water hauling by 90% and performing well completions with 100% recycled produced water in the Montney Shale’s Gold Creek area. General Energy Recovery Inc won in Innovation & Technology Excellence for its direct contact steam generator, which has several advantages over typical once-through steam generators. For example, it is mobile and compact; has a smaller physical footprint, lower feedwater quality requirements and 90% water recycling capability; and its capital costs are up to 10% lower.
Because the transaction did not complete by the set closing date, Centennial Resources terminated a $225 million deal under which WaterBridge Resources would have acquired some of its water infrastructure. Struck in February, the deal’s agreed purchase price may have become unattractive following the oil price crash and subsequent reduction in Permian production. According to Centennial’s press release, the producer will seek a $10 million purchase price deposit.
Oklahoma legislators passed Senate Bill 1875, known as the Oil and Gas Produced Water and Waste Recycling Reuse Act, clarifying produced water ownership by producers prior to transfer to another party. The bill is intended to incentivize produced water recycling over disposal.
IX Power Clean Water, a developer of water treatment systems with applications in industries such as oil & gas and mining, is raising investment through a crowdfunding campaign on StartEngine. According to a press release, the technology was developed by Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists in collaboration with the University of Texas and the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. By the time WiO went to press, the firm had raised more than $125,000 with 87 days left in its campaign.
The US federal government has begun temporarily reducing royalty rates associated with oil & gas production on some federal acreage. The Department of Interior has said it would consider cutting royalty rates as low as 0.5%. Producers can apply to the Bureau of Land Management for 60-day waivers which can be renewed.

Middle East

Local media reported that Iran’s Research Institute of Petroleum Industry (RIPI) will carry out four water- and gas-based enhanced oil recovery research projects. The research will involve the Ahwaz and Bibi Hakimeh fields – operated by the National Iranian South Oil Company (NISOC) – as well as the Danan field, operated by the Iranian Central Oil Fields Company (ICOFC). Both NISOC and ICOFC are subsidiaries of the National Iranian Oil Company.


GlassPoint, a startup using concentrated solar power to generate steam for heavy oil production, is reported to be liquidating its assets following economic uncertainty brought on by the 2020 oil price crash. GlassPoint had initiated a project to produce 660 tonnes per day (tpd) of steam at Petroleum Development Oman’s Miraah field and was set to expand steam output there to 6,000 tpd. In California, the company planned to use its technology to generate 12 million bbl/d of steam for Aera Energy’s Belridge field.