Oil & Gas Water Use in Texas: Update to the 2011 Mining Water Use Report

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In Spring 2012, we undertook an update of the hydraulic fracturing sections of the TWDB-sponsored report titled “Current and Projected Water Use in the Texas Mining and Oil and Gas Industry” that we published in June 2011 (Nicot et al., 2011). The 2011 report provided estimated county-level water use in the oil and gas industry in 2008 and projections to 2060. This 2012 update was prompted by two main events: (1) a major shift of the oil and gas industry from gas to oil production, displacing production centers across the state and impacting county-level amounts; (2) rapid development of technological advances, resulting in more common reuse and in the ability to use more brackish water. The timely update was enabled by a faster than anticipated development, translating into abundant statistical data sets from which to derive projections, and by an increased willingness of the industry to participate in providing detailed information about water use in its operations. This document follows the same methodology as the 2011 report but differs from it in two ways. Our current update clearly distinguishes between water use and water consumption. The 2011 report does not include reuse from neighboring hydraulic fracturing jobs, recycling from other industry operations or other treatment plants, and use of brackish water. Our update also presents three scenarios: high, low, and most likely water use and consumption with a focus on water consumption. This update has been reviewed by the TWDB and should supersede oil and gas industry projections from the 2011 report.


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