The Texas Produced Water Consortium released its findings on potential recycling of oilfield wastewater.
According to the study, "oil and gas extraction in the Permian Basin of arid West Texas is expected to produce some 588 million gallons of wastewater per day for the next 38 years," reported Inside Climate News.
The study was led by a state-commissioned study group.
“It’s a massive amount of water,” said Rusty Smith, the consortium’s executive director, at the Texas Groundwater Summit in San Antonio, reported Inside Climate News.
Lawmakers in Texas commissioned the Produced Water Consortium in February 2021 to specifically focus on the Permian Basin, the state’s top oil-producing zone. Inside Climate News reports that its growing population has impacted water supplies, with planners forecasting a 20 billion gallon per year deficit by year 2030.
The consortium based its estimates on annual 24-hour sampling of wastewater production and monthly records of wastewater disposal, reported Inside Climate News. Their estimate is approximately 170 billions of gallons per year.
“There’s just a lack of data, so it’s an estimate,” said Dan Mueller, senior manager with the Environmental Defense Fund in Texas, reported Inside Climate News.
EDF is part of the consortium.
According to Mueller, he estimates "that treatment costs of $2.55 to $10 per barrel and disposal costs of $0.70 per barrel would hike up the water price far beyond the average $0.40 per barrel paid by municipal users or $0.03 per barrel paid by irrigators," reported Inside Climate News,
Smith adds that water reuse efforts in West Texas will first require pilot projects and chemical analysis.