28 October 2020
Chart of the month
Though water use for hydraulic fracturing has fallen in Oklahoma, a gradual pickup in activity is expected to bring new water demand, and with it, greater concern over water availability in some areas.
This month’s chart was created with data provided by oilfield water intelligence company B3 Insight. The chart depicts monthly changes in water volumes going towards hydraulic fracturing operations in several Oklahoma basins.
The data shows a significant drop in the amount of water used for hydraulic fracturing over the past 12 months – a reflection of the general slowdown in the oil patch that began at the end of 2019 and that has been exacerbated by the pandemic.
Water use has also shifted between Oklahoma’s various oil & gas basins over time. More than 80% of total source water volumes is now directed towards the Anadarko Basin, much of which is also affected by moderate to extreme drought. This issue has driven state regulators to include produced water – of which more than 1 billion bbls were disposed in 2019, according to B3 Insight – in comprehensive water planning efforts.
As drilling activity recovers into 2021 and local water stress persists in the US’ fourth-largest hydrocarbons-producing state, greater determination is expected among regulatory and industry players to include more alternative water resources in volumes going towards new hydraulic fracturing activities.