The Railroad Commission has adopted new rules to encourage Texas operators to continue their efforts at conserving water used in the hydraulic fracturing process for oil and gas wells. They have essentially relaxed rules to make it easier for operators to recycle water onsite.
Major changes adopted to the Commission’s water recycling rules include eliminating the need for a recycling permit if operators are recycling fluid on their own leases or transferring their fluids to another operator’s lease for recycling. The changes adopted by the Commission today also clearly identify recycling permit application requirements and reflect existing standard field conditions for recycling permits.
Chairman Barry Smitherman said, “By removing regulatory hurdles, these new amendments will help foster the recycling efforts by oil and gas operators who continue to examine ways to reduce freshwater use when hydraulically fracturing well.”
Commissioner Christi Craddick said, “Just as our operators have used technology to bring us into this modern day boom of oil production, they are also using technology to reduce their fresh water use. The changes adopted today will assist in those efforts.”
Water shortages in Texas in the past 5 years has brought the spotlight on new oil and gas production methods, in particular hydraulic fracturing. Even though this technique is reported to only use about 1% of water usage in the state, it is an important resource that industries are compelled to manage properly for a more responsible energy future. In doing so, a new ruling by the Texas Railroad Commission removes the regulatory hurdle from recycling frac water– bringing big promise to the future of water recycling in the region. “We see this change as an opportunity to accelerate deployment of our water recycling technologies in Texas.”, said Peter Pappas, VP at Bosque Systems.
The rule amendment also establishes five categories of commercial recycling permits to reflect industry practices in the field:
- On-lease Commercial Solid Oil and Gas Waste Recycling
- Off-lease or Centralized Commercial Solid Oil and Gas Waste Recycling
- Stationary Commercial Solid Oil and Gas Waste Recycling
- Off-lease Commercial Recycling of Fluid
- Stationary Commercial Recycling of Fluid
The changes to the rule also establish a tiered approach for the reuse of treated fluid, including both authorized reuse of treated fluids in oil and gas operations and provisions for reusing the fluid for other non-oilfield related uses.