There’s a lot of oil trapped in the subterranean rock of the Permian Basin, but to get it out of the ground, you need water. In dry, remote West Texas, that’s not easy to come by. “Water is a precious resource,” says Karen Work, ConocoPhillips water management supervisor in the Permian Basin. “We had to start looking creatively at how we can supply that water in a more environmentally prudent manner.”

In the China Draw area of the Delaware Basin, Karen and her team helped ConocoPhillips complete the installation of a centralized water gathering and distribution system in 2018. The system includes a water treatment facility, a total of 1.5 MM barrel capacity storage for treated produced water in two ponds and pipeline infrastructure to transfer produced water from producing wells to the treatment facility and then return it after treatment to frack new wells. The project will reduce the amount of water withdrawn from local, mostly non-freshwater sources, the amount of produced water going to disposal wells and truck traffic to move that water. The company has a target to use 100% recycled treated water for hydraulic fracturing in the China Draw development area by 2020. 

Learn more about how ConocoPhillips manages water risks.