Paper No. 119-6
Presentation Time: 2:45 PM
A COMPREHENSIVE STUDY SUPPORTING BENEFICIAL USES OF PRODUCED WATER IN SOUTHEASTERN NEW MEXICO
We undertook a comprehensive inventory, quality evaluation, spatial variability analysis, volume analysis, and regulatory review of produced water in two southeastern counties (Lea and Eddy Counties) of New Mexico. This region is chronically water stressed and has experienced extensive development of oil and gas operations over the last 10 years. Use, reuse, and beneficial use of produced water both within and outside of the oil and gas industry can help reduce the use of fresh water for drilling, completions, and other important economic activities including mining and possibly agriculture or irrigation. We developed an updated database of produced water information including location information, water quality analyses, formation (where known), and source of sample (where known). New and non-compiled data are important to realize the full potential of produced water as an alternative water source, thus a data gap analysis was also performed. Additionally, the results of the spatial variability study, as well as information from the produced water database, were developed into GIS maps and spatial data layers. The map layers show the distribution of 1) produced water quality by geologic formation; 2) produced water volumes by well and township; and, 3) produced water volumes through time. A review of the regulatory framework for developing produced water for alternative uses was also performed, including state regulations, permits for treatment and use, the water rights framework, and pertinent federal regulations surrounding discharges. The study analyzed produced water volume, quality, and treatment options for agricultural purposes and focused on four of the most economically advantageous agronomic crops as well as potential niche market crops. Finally, we created web-mapping applications to locate potential customers for produced water; and to identify potential delivery routes.