WOODWARD — Oklahoma City-based Continental Resources Inc. next month will become the latest oil and natural gas producer to build a water recycling and processing facility in the state.
The company is building recycling centers in Garvin and Stephens counties, where they will support Continental’s rapidly expanding drilling effort in the South Central Oklahoma Oil Province, or SCOOP.
“In designing our water recycling facilities, we wanted to reuse water without detrimentally affecting our wells,” Continental Resources engineer Anthony Luvera said Thursday at the Tri-State Oil and Gas Convention in Woodward. “It took some planning, but we finally got there.”
Like many others in the industry, Continental is trying to find the balance between reducing freshwater use while holding down operating costs.
The two recycling facilities are expected to cut the company’s freshwater consumption in half for the wells tied into the facility. Continental has spent about $25 million on the two systems and expects the facilities to pay for themselves in about three years, Luvera said.
Facilities like what Continental is building in southern Oklahoma are most feasible when companies have large, ongoing drilling programs in relatively small areas, Luvera said.
“Ultimately, we’re running a business,” he said. “We wish we could be recycling in every area we get into. But the reality is that often it doesn’t make economic sense. It will seldom make any economic sense unless it is in an area where we are drilling multiple wells per section.”
The new recycling facilities include storage tanks where residual oil is removed and a large, lined pit, where the water is further cleaned and processed over about seven days.
A dual system of underground pipes carries produced water from the wells to the recycling facility and cleaned water from the recycling facility to the next wells undergoing hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
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