XRI’s COO, Dr. Chris Harich, answers this maximizing for recycling question during his panel appearance at the 2022 Oilfield Water Markets Conference.
We took a different look at it. We took a different approach to because being private-equity backed, I had to have a return on investment (ROI). So if I was sinking things into the ground, or building big, immobile facilities – which I did – I couldn’t move them. And so I’m stuck in Ragan County or I’m stuck in Upton County.
But we looked at ourselves and said OK, during COVID, we see that we have a bunch of 16″ to 24″ pipe in the ground. We have SWDs. Instead of injecting let’s move the water through our pipeline and take it to our customer.
One of the big things we did last year is we looked at one super-major and said, “Hey, you have 200,000 barrels a day of produced water. Let us come in and recycle it.”
We have another super-major that’s 30 miles away on our pipeline. We’ll recycle it, put it into our pipeline and take that to a 12-well pad – at 200,000 barrels a day – so you can run a simul-frac. And it worked really well. We did what is called “water sharing.”
Then we realized really quick that the recycling equipment we need needs to be mobile. The oil industry loves mobile. Loves mobility. So when you think about frac crews, pressure pumping crews; these guys come in with 50,000 horsepower and they’re able to rig that up in 48 hours. That’s what our industry is used to – speed to market. We have to go; time is money. So we said our recycle equipment needs to be the same way.
We formed a collaborative partnership with NGL out in the Delaware Basin to be able to use their resource, which is huge amounts of pipeline. They do two million barrels a day. Let’s have 200,000 barrel a day recycling units that we can move and put along this pipeline. Let’s do it on our own because we learned in the Midland Basin that it works. You just have to get the right operators that want to share these assets, that want to share this produced water. So you’re really talking about a scenario where you have takeaway agreements with one operator, recycle that water and then have supply agreements with another operator. Because that’s a created system, you can lower the cost for everybody.
On top of that, you’re getting two ESG components:
- You’re reducing the amount of freshwater or brackish ground water you need.
- You’re limiting the amount you inject into the ground.
For us, that whole sharing concept was really something we thought about. How do we grow recycling and scale? Let’s have these things mobile because that is what the industry is used to. That is what the industry wants.