Upstream Texas - Spring/Summer 2017 - 8
FE ATU RE
TO OBTAIN WATER
ONCE UPON A TIME, oil and gas companies
considered water as one tool among many for
producing hydrocarbons, recalls Todd Abbott,
president of Pioneer Water Management LLC
and vice president of Permian infrastructure
for Pioneer Natural Resources.
"In the past, water was a resource, but it was
not so critical that companies devoted a great
deal of thought to it," he says.
That age passed for many North American
producers though with the advent of
unconventional shale plays, he reflects.
Perhaps the most obvious clue signaling
that transition is the fact that one of the two
techniques most commonly associated with
establishing that new paradigm-high-volume
hydraulic fracturing-actually includes a word
that Webster's defines as "operated, moved
or effected by means of water."
"Completions technology has made water a
much bigger requirement for our industry,"
Abbott describes. "Wells are getting
longer, and the water used for each foot of
wellbore is increasing. Water has become a
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Nevertheless, water is necessary not only
for modern oil and gas operations, but also
life as we know it. And even though H 2O
covers about 71 percent of the earth's
surface, the resource does not distribute
itself evenly, requiring many inhabited
areas to figure out how to obtain enough to
That need becomes particularly acute in arid
areas, such as West Texas, where people
have been known to cite the old aphorism
that "whisky is for drinking and water is for