ConocoPhillips

Managing Local Water Risks

Treated Water Tanks

Our operations use fresh- and non-fresh water for onshore and offshore drilling and completions and produce water together with crude oil and natural gas. Water management priorities are evolving globally in response to physical risks from local water scarcity and regulatory and social risks from changing priorities and expectations of governments and people and society. Our approach to managing these local water risks applies to all stages of the project life cycle and includes:

  • Water sources
  • Reuse and recycling of produced water
  • Transport and storage of produced water
  • Discharge of treated produced water
  • Produced water disposal

Our 2016 Sustainability Report and our Common Question on Hydraulic Fracturing provide additional case studies and information on current priorities and actions for local water risk management.

Freshwater Conservation

​Some of our assets are located in regions experiencing water stress or scarcity or are predicted to do so in the future. Which is why we integrate water strategy and risk management into our long-range planning and business processes and develop fit-for-purpose solutions to manage water risks for each asset within its local context. Our Water Action Plan includes multiple actions on freshwater conservation for our assets.

In Texas’ Eagle Ford region we target deeper, more brackish water sources that are not used for municipal, domestic or agricultural purposes. We’ve conducted a number of pilot projects including using non-freshwater sources, treated municipal wastewater, and recycled produced water to hydraulically fracture our wells. We have also developed a three-dimensional Visualization Tool, which provides a 3-D image of aquifers, water wells and natural gas and oil wells. We use the tool to show stakeholders that we target deeper, more brackish water sources, which are not used by local landowners.

At our Montney unconventional asset in Canada, a water treatment pilot program demonstrated that reusing produced water is a viable alternative that can help reduce freshwater usage and lower cost of supply. Successful development of the field will require effective water management in a region with limited access to water and concerns from local stakeholders, including two indigenous nations, about the use of freshwater for oil and gas production.

Our Canadian Oil Sands operations are drawing water from a series of deep underground sources, targeting low-quality groundwater that is unfit for agriculture, livestock, or human consumption without significant treatment.