Leonard Rice Engineers has added an industrial water practice to its service channels, led by Bill Fronczak, Jeff Anderson, and Stephen Goodwin. Our team develops holistic water management solutions for life-cycle cost reduction (30+%) to oil and gas (O&G) exploration and production (E&P) companies that are developing Unconventional O&G (UCOG) reserves. Our combined 50 years’ experience in water rights, water solutions and water management ensures the most innovative, flexible and sustainable water solutions for our oil and gas clients. Utilizing our water right, water management and water solution expertise, we partner with E&P companies make the appropriate decisions in the logistically complex oilfield water management space (Figure 1). We believe that flexibility in water planning is essential due to the high uncertainty/risk in the early assessment of an unconventional oil and gas field.

LRE employs exclusive decision support system water planning and management software tools to build flexible and sustainable water solutions that provide measurable improvement in capital and operational efficiencies. Through our team’s exclusive tools (example shown below), O&G operators are able to evaluate costs, quantify risks, and optimize oilfield water solutions for drilling and completion activities during all phases of field development.

LRE also provides expertise in water rights, water management and engineering to meet upstream O&G water-centric challenges, including:

Water evaluation tool allows operators to better estimate water volumes based on a variety of development plans and decline curves, which leads to more accurate water infrastructure decisions and more efficient water planning for oil and gas operators.
Water evaluation tool allows operators to better estimate water volumes based on a variety of development plans and decline curves, which leads to more accurate water infrastructure decisions and more efficient water planning for oil and gas operators.
  • Water right review, analysis and consulting
  • Water management planning and strategy development to reduce CAPEX and long-term OPEX
  • Water-centric engineering and hydrogeology to:
    • Provide a reliable, consistent, sustainable water supply that is available on demand which meets volume, water quality, and regulatory criteria
    • Optimize well field development related to water logistics
  • Managing and minimizing risks – environmental, safety, communities, seismicity, and truck transportation (noise, emissions, damage to infrastructure, public safety, etc.)
  • Permitting
  • Project management

Our Industrial Water staff provides engineering expertise to assist upstream O&G operators in all phases of the project water life-cycle. Our water solutions expertise includes:

  • Investigation and development of new groundwater and surface water sources
  • Evaluation of the water right and regulatory challenges
  • Groundwater pump design and improvements
  • Groundwater modeling
  • Water management and water balance consulting
  • Program management
  • Environmental Permitting

 

EXAMPLE 1 – DELAWARE BASIN WATER SUPPLY AND CONVEYANCE INFRASTRUCTURE SOLUTION

Figure 3. Permian Basin Project (map credit: http://www.shaleexperts.com/plays/wolfcamp-shale/Overview)
Figure 3. Permian Basin Project (map credit: http://www.shaleexperts.com/plays/wolfcamp-shale/Overview)

LRE is working on a confidential project with a water rights owner in the Delaware Basin (Figure 2) to develop a groundwater resource on the owner’s property and design and build a water conveyance system to provide D&C water to E&P’s that are currently assessing a multiple horizon UCOG play adjacent to the property.  In this arid region of west Texas, the E&P’s currently use a combination of trucking fresh water from small water depots, piping shallow wells that produce at low rates (10-100 gpm) to a pit, or treatment and reuse of flowback and/or produced water on the pad to meet their water requirements for drilling and completing predominately horizontal UCOG wells in this basin.  These water sources are used to fill a frac pit (100 – 300,000 Bbls) and once the frac pit is full, a single well can be completed.  While this approach allows E&P’s maximum flexibility for water management costs, this approach is costly, inefficient and not sustainable during field delineation or development operations, as it cannot keep up with water volumes required in the timeframe needed for multi-well completions on a pad. Delaware Basin, Bone Spring play typical water supply and transportation costs to a frac pit for this current industry water management approach were estimated at $2.68/Bbl (IHS Nov 2015).

LRE’s proposed solution is to develop the groundwater resources on our client’s property by:  (i) installing the desired number of deeper, larger diameter water wells that are capable of producing 500 – 1,000 gpm, sustained; (ii) design and build an infrastructure system consisting of permanent, buried, pipelines and in-ground pits to convey the groundwater at rates of 50,000 – 200,000 Bbls/day to E&P’s in the area.  LRE has analyzed multiple conveyance system configurations to supply water to the E&P’s active in this play.  On the basis of the initial engineering design and construction cost estimates, LRE determined that the groundwater resource can be developed on the property and a 24 mile pipeline with 600,000 Bbls of storage designed and installed for a cost to the E&P firms ranging from $1.50 to $0.70/Bbl, depending on volume and term commitment that the operator is willing to agree to.  These costs when compared to the above cited typical water supply and transportation costs for this play, the operators could save between $1.18 and $1.98/Bbl or 44 to 74% and have a reliable, long term, water supply for D&C operations.  Moreover, LRE evaluated the use of private capital to finance the project which allows E&P to preserve their capital for core oil field operations.


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