New Oilfield Water Platform Serving Permian Basin
Rigzone: In terms of water rights acquisition and well management, what kind of challenges have these issues posed and continue to pose for oil and gas companies?
Cooper: There certainly has been a water-grab, which has been good for ranchers interested in selling or leasing water rights. We’ve been pleasantly surprised to see communities and oil and gas companies working together because both need each other. The communities need the producers because of the economic benefits, and the producers need the support of the communities, so they are committed to preserving the long-term water supply through reclamation and other initiatives. However, I do think it is important to point out that while water is critical to the oil & gas industry, the amount of water used is a small fraction of that in other sectors, particularly agriculture. The University of Texas alumni magazine, Alcalde, has a great piece this month where they also note that biofuel production is 100 times more water-intensive than fracking. That doesn’t get much press.
Rigzone: In terms of other oilfield fluids, what kind of infrastructure and services are needed in the energy industry?
Cooper: In addition to water, proppant (or frac sand) is the other critical component to fracking. There are major railports being created in the market to handle this, which is an efficient system. Unit trains come in loaded full of sand, and leave loaded full of oil. It’s impressive.
Rigzone: Your company will be involved in acquiring, developing, and managing water-related and other oilfield fluids infrastructure and services. Will the services aspect of this organization include development of technology for water treatment/management, or will it focus more on the infrastructure and delivery?
Cooper: OWL will be focused on infrastructure and delivery/disposal, and on providing our customers with innovative technologies for water treatment/management. We have a long and successful experience in water delivery and disposal and have been looking at water treatment technology for years; we are strong supporters of efforts to make reclamation cost-effective. One of the many reasons we were excited Natural Gas Partners was joining us to form OWL was that they are experienced energy investors and were able to introduce us to NGP Energy Technology Partners as a co-investor. NGP ETP is a leader in oilfield technology investing and has been valuable, working with NGP, in providing access and knowledge in the space. We expect reclamation to be one of the cornerstones of the water logistics business and have access to both proprietary and off-the-shelf solutions for our customers.
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