Anadarko recognizes that effective water management and water conservation are essential to developing all energy resources for our world. The availability of water, combined with varying municipal, industrial, agricultural and other demands, affects governments, businesses and individuals in many parts of the world. Anadarko respects water as a natural resource, and where feasible, recycles water used in our operations. We have established a Water Strategy Committee to define and implement a holistic water-management approach for Anadarko that assesses availability and prudent use of water, conservation technology development and public outreach to address water management and challenges according to local conditions and considerations.
Groundwater aquifers are generally located several hundred feet below ground. The geologic formations we access to produce oil and natural gas are typically deeper than 6,000 feet below ground. Thus, groundwater aquifers and the oil and natural gas formations that we access are separated by thousands of feet of solid and impermeable rock. As various studies have confirmed, we believe that well integrity is crucial to ensure protection of groundwater resources.
We construct our wells in accordance with government regulations and industry standards. Across our U.S. onshore operating areas, we require that multiple protective layers of steel pipe, also called casing, and cement be set several hundred feet below the deepest known aquifer and cemented all the way to the surface. The cement must meet certain quality requirements and extend the full length of the casing. These redundant protective boundaries are put in place to establish wellbore integrity. Additionally, the casing is pressure tested, the cement’s quality and placement are checked, and pressure gauges are installed to monitor the well for mechanical integrity once production begins. Learn more about welbore integrity.
Water Conservation and Best Management Practices
In advance of drilling, Anadarko samples and analyzes domestic fresh water sources in accordance with local requirements. In addition to protecting water resources underground, Anadarko also takes numerous precautions to conserve and protect water above the surface. Herein are a few examples of our commitment toward responsible water management across our operating areas.
In the Marcellus Shale, Anadarko’s water-management and well-completion strategies strive to reduce truck traffic and associated emissions, while minimizing earth disturbance and conserving available water resources. A pipeline system using two lines, one for natural gas and one for fresh water (located in the same trench to reduce surface disturbance) provides water to well sites for the completion process. A closed-loop system moves water from a pre-determined and approved source through pipelines to containment facilities for use in the hydraulic fracturing process. Anadarko has employed the use of temporary earthen impoundments and portable, above-ground holding ponds (PortaDams) to store water required for completion operations. The flowback water from operations is collected in steel tanks and trucked to the next completion site. Here, the produced water is filtered and recycled using newly developed technologies. Additionally, we collect drill cuttings, or pieces of earth that return to the surface during drilling operations, in steel containers until they can be properly tested and disposed of in accordance with regulations.
In 2013, water conservation measures in Pennsylvania eliminated more than 60,000 truck trips and three million miles of truck traffic, or more than 1,600 metric tons of CO2 emissions.
Even before it was required by regulation, we partnered with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) and Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA) to conduct baseline water sampling of new wells outside the greater Wattenberg area. As part of this proactive effort, we paid for an independent third party to collect and test water samples and maintain the results with the COGCC, to ensure our operations did not impact water quality in our operating areas. As a result, water sampling is now a required step in Colorado under the oversight of the COGCC. Our water sources currently consist of water supplies decreed and approved for commercial and industrial uses in Colorado, and we do not use Denver Basin aquifer groundwater. Furthermore, we have implemented a water recycling and closed-loop system Water-On-Demand (WOD), consisting of more than 150 miles of pipeline. The WOD system utilizes automation and consolidates equipment to conserve water, reduce traffic by more than 2,000 vehicles per day, and reduce GHG emissions. We transport about 98 percent of the water we use via these pipelines. The WOD system has the additional benefit of reducing the number of water storage tanks needed onsite, which further reduces surface impacts.
In the Greater Natural Buttes area, Anadarko has been recognized on several occasions for its Anadarko Completions Transportation System (ACTS), an innovative water-management program that uses existing natural gas well locations as temporary staging sites. These staging sites treat recycled flowback water from hydraulic fracturing and then move the filtered water directly to the next operation through temporary pipelines. These pipelines use existing pad locations and rights-of-way that minimize additional surface disturbance, truck traffic and associated emissions.
In our Eagleford Shale operations in Southwest Texas, more than 70 percent of our water needs are met by surface water sources, thereby reducing withdrawals from privately-owned groundwater sources. We have reduced transport of produced water by 20 percent by securing closer disposal facilities, and we are beginning a water reclamation program projected to conserve 600,000 barrels of water by year-end 2014.
In our West Texas operations, in September 2013, we began building the necessary infrastructure, including distribution pipelines, to recycle produced water. To date, nearly 2 million barrels of produced water have been re-used in the area’s operations.
Anadarko constructed a 48-mile water pipeline to transport produced water from our coalbed methane operations in the Powder River Basin south to underground aquifers that match the quality of the produced water for potential reuse in the future.
Anadarko implements water-management and recycling programs worldwide that conserve water, and we also participate in partnerships to advance best practices. Examples of our commitment to continue evaluating ways to conserve and manage water are highlighted below:
- Anadarko is a leader in the Energy Water Initiative (EWI), an industry group of nearly 20 North American exploration and production companies formed in 2012 to foster better understanding of the life cycle of water used in unconventional production. EWI actively seeks opportunities to advance applied research in water acquisition, conservation, recycling and water resource sustainability.
- Anadarko is a leader in a number of industry groups working to improve water-management practices and encourage water stewardship. These groups include the Hydraulic Fracturing Committees of the American Exploration and Production Council (AXPC), the Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC) and the Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC).
- Anadarko continues to voluntarily report water-management activities to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) to provide transparency regarding our performance to interested parties and contribute to global awareness of water-related issues.
- To appropriately manage and conserve water, Anadarko strives to maximize recycling of flowback and produced water where feasible. In addition, and in full compliance with all regulatory requirements, the company may utilize wastewater disposal wells as an option to appropriately manage water. In those instances where disposal or injection wells are utilized, the company has established a procedure to evaluate and/or address the potential for induced seismicity. This procedure includes a careful review of the local and sub-regional geology and understanding of regional faulting, among numerous other considerations.
- In 2015, Anadarko partnered with Energy Water Solutions, the Texas Railroad Commission, Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Gibson Energy for the Produced Water Irrigation Project. The project evaluated using recycled produced water from oil and natural gas activity in the Delaware Basin to irrigate a cotton crop in nearby Pecos, Texas. The full report is expected to be available in January 2016. See study details.