New Oilfield Water Platform Serving Permian Basin

The company earlier this month acquired Midland-based AggieTech Operating LLC, a saltwater disposal well and pipeline infrastructure company and the saltwater disposal affiliate of Big Bear AggieTech, the largest independent pumping unit service company in the Permian Basin.

The acquisition will expand OWL’s footprint in the Permian, establish a company office in Midland and indicate the company’s commitment to growth through acquisition, OWL said in a July 14 press statement. The purchase of AggieTech means that OWL now owns 12 saltwater disposal wells and a network of water pipelines with producer contracts, in addition to significant exclusive surface-use agreements in the Permian.

Rigzone recently spoke with OWL CEO Chris Cooper about the company’s future plans.

Rigzone: When was OWL formed? What is your background and the background of the company’s management team?

Cooper: OWL was formed in May with NGP Natural Resources X, LP, NGP Energy Technology Partners II, L.P. and friends and family to acquire, develop, and manage water-related and other oilfield fluids infrastructure and services. The management team includes [myself] and Nevin Bannister, who previously formed and operated Oilfield Water Lines, LP, and are joined by long-time co-investor Roger Johnson and former investment banker Matt Thiel. Previously, Cooper was CFO of a company which was Nuverra’s first oilfield water investment.

Rigzone: Can you talk about the challenges of infrastructure and services that the energy industry faces in shale plays and in the Permian Basin?

Cooper: In every shale play, infrastructure has played catch-up with drilling, and this is particularly true as it relates to water. One of the exciting things about the Permian Basin is that with the vast areas of land, we are able to design and build complete water systems for producers that include miles of pipelines, supply, reclamation and disposal. These can be wholly owned by OWL or developed in joint ventures. In fact, many producers have had to build their own water infrastructure out of necessity. In these cases, OWL is able to invest in or acquire those systems and return capital to the producer for additional drilling.

Rigzone: In terms of dependable solutions, what kind of solutions exist on a national scale? Are there enough solutions? If not, why do you think there is still a lack of choice in this arena?

Cooper: The water business is still very fragmented, and we think E&P companies would very much like to have a dependable, go-to company on a national scale. This was our original goal and a reason we partnered with NGP – to fill the void by building a large, first-class national water operation with a long-term vision to solve this problem. OWL is rapidly growing into a full-cycle water company with permanent infrastructure and closed-loop systems with established customer relationships and contracts, modeled similarly to a midstream gas gathering company.


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