American Oil and Gas Reporter - September 2020 - 69

pages 69-73_Layout 1 9/21/2020 9:28 AM Page 69

SpecialReport: Permian Powerhouse

Best Practices Key To Water Facilities
By Gavin James,
Mark S. Faucher,
Mark F. Kidder
and H. William "Bill" Hochheiser
TULSA-Impoundments are a critical
component of water management infrastructure systems. Whether they are used
to store fresh or produced water, serve as
a vessel for evaporation, or staging for
downhole disposal or recycling, the number and size of impoundments used in
the oil and gas industry has grown along
with the increase in water infrastructure.
For operators to maximize the return on
their investment, it is critical they follow
best management practices during each
stage of the impoundment's life cycle to
ensure safety, longevity and regulatory
compliance.
The development of any oil and gas
asset begins with a plan. Whether the plan
is for an operator or commercial disposal/recycling facility, it must consider the volumetric water storage required depending
on the purpose of the facility. Equipped
with this information, estimates of the
phased capital spend can begin to take
shape based on what needs to be built,
why it needs to be built, where it needs to
be built and when it needs to be built.
In the water infrastructure component
of the planning phase, it is essential to
develop a demand specification for both
the quality and volume of the frac makeup water and the disposition of the produced water (treatment for reuse, evaporation or disposal via deep well injection). The capacity of the infrastructure
needs to align with the volumetric demand over time as development of the
asset progresses. A determination of the
number of impoundments, their respective locations, and the flexibility to
move water (both treated and untreated)
between locations is the objective of
the planning process.
The resulting phased plan will be a
roadmap for the sequence and timing for
constructing the impoundments to store
and treat the produced water, saltwater
disposal (SWD) capacity, and capital deployment to efficiently develop the asset
and meet the operational demands.
Permitting And Siting
The permitting process should be an
integral part of the design phase. Regu-

latory requirements for impoundments
vary by state, and even within a state,
regulations can vary by purpose of the
impoundment, length of time the impoundment is expected to be in use, and
even according to the characteristics of
the fluid in the impoundment. It is important to know the regulations that apply
for the specific impoundment that is being
constructed and the regulatory requirements regarding the location (setbacks,
depth to groundwater and geology), construction (materials, grading, liners, leak
detection, etc.), related infrastructure, operation, closure and intended use (e.g., a
permanent pit will have different conditions
from a temporary pit).
States have different rules for impoundments that are part of an existing lease
versus those that will be used for commercial water management, and for impoundments that will hold water for disposal versus those that will be used for
recycling. It is best to understand these
requirements up front so they can be incorporated into the design, rather than incurring the costs of revising the plans because some requirements were not known
during the initial planning phase.
In addition, it can be valuable to communicate regularly with the regulatory
agency. Some policies or preferences of

the regulatory staff may be informal, and
establishing a dialogue on the plans for
the impoundment can reveal these and
make permit approval go more smoothly
and quickly.
Site selection is one of the first crucial
decisions in constructing an impoundment.
When planning the location of the impoundments, several key factors should
be taken into consideration. The location
should be in close proximity to supporting
infrastructure including rights-of-way, access roads, electrical service and water
conveyance pipelines. Environmental hazards also should be taken into account.
The location should not lie within the
100-year regulatory floodplain, should
not be located within a protected wetlands
area, and should be set back from surface
water bodies, including ephemeral streams.
A regulatory site assessment (RSA)
should be performed to assure that the
site adheres to required setbacks and
avoidances. Furthermore, the location
should not interfere with future drilling
well pad locations or other high-value
infrastructure. Operators also should consider existing topography when choosing
a site. A flatter location will require less
earthwork, while a steep grade will increase the earthwork and may present
problems with surface runoff controls.

Site selection is a crucial consideration in planning and constructing an impoundment.
This site in the STACK play in Oklahoma was designed to fit within three pipeline rightsof-way, giving it a unique geometric shape while maximizing the total storage volume.

SEPTEMBER 2020 69



American Oil and Gas Reporter - September 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Oil and Gas Reporter - September 2020

Contents
American Oil and Gas Reporter - September 2020 - Intro
American Oil and Gas Reporter - September 2020 - 1
American Oil and Gas Reporter - September 2020 - 2
American Oil and Gas Reporter - September 2020 - 3
American Oil and Gas Reporter - September 2020 - 4
American Oil and Gas Reporter - September 2020 - Contents
American Oil and Gas Reporter - September 2020 - 6
American Oil and Gas Reporter - September 2020 - 7
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