Cumulative Water Risks related to Oil Production in the Permian Basin

Recorded On: 06/09/2020

Assessing cumulative water risks from unconventional oil production is critical for developing water management approaches to reduce these risks. The objective of this study was to assess risks to groundwater and surface water from oil production and evaluate approaches to reduce these in the Permian Basin. The water footprint of unconventional oil and gas production in the Permian, including hydraulic fracturing (HF) water sourcing and produced water (PW) management, has been increasing over the past decade. The primary water risks in the Permian Basin include impacts of HF water sourcing on aquifers and connected rivers and springs and subsurface disposal of produced water related to induced seismicity. Although HF water sources are not reported, up to 3 – 4 times more wells were drilled for HF than for irrigation in the basin. Groundwater discharge to the Pecos River increases from 30-40% of total flow along the basin margin to 70-80% towards the basin center, highlighting the importance of groundwater discharge to surface water in the basin. While most springs have dried up during past decades in response to irrigation, it is extremely critical to maintain flows in the remaining large springs, particularly San Solomon Springs. Most produced water is disposed above the oil reservoirs that may impact salt dissolution and surface subsidence. Contamination related to spills and leaks was reviewed to assess spatiotemporal trends and causes. Quantifying current water management strategies provides a baseline for assessing future options. Knowledge gaps were identified, including reporting of water sources for HF, current and future potential for reuse of PW for HF, produced water quality data required for treatment, and subsurface disposal capacity to accommodate projected PW volumes.

This webinar applies to both Production, Facilities and Construction and Health, Safety, Environment and Sustainability technical disciplines.

All content contained within this webinar is copyrighted by Dr. Harvey Yarranton and its use and/or reproduction outside the portal requires express permission from Dr. Harvey Yarranton.

Bridget R. Scanlon

Senior Research Scientist, Bureau of Economic Geology, Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin

Bridget Scanlon is a Senior Research Scientist at the Bureau of Economic Geology, Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas at Austin. Her degrees are in Geology with a focus on hydrogeology with a B.A. Mod. from Trinity College, Dublin (1980); M.Sc. from the Univ. of Alabama (1983), and Ph.D. from the Univ. of Kentucky (1985). She has worked at the Univ. of Texas since 1987. Her current research emphasizes the interdependence of water and energy, focusing on water quantity aspects. Her group has evaluated water issues related to unconventional oil and gas production in the U.S., including historical and projected water volumes related to water scarcity in semiarid regions, induced seismicity, and disposal capacity. Her previous work related to groundwater recharge, water sustainability, use of GRACE satellites in water resource assessments, and evaluation of global hydrologic models.  She serves an Associate Editor for Water Resources Research and Environmental Research Letters and has authored or co-authored ~100 publications. Dr. Scanlon is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and of the Geological Society of America and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

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06/09/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  60 minutes
06/09/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  60 minutes
20 Questions
0.15 CEU/1.5 PDH credits  |  Certificate available
0.15 CEU/1.5 PDH credits  |  Certificate available