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Oklahoma City-based Devon Energy Corp. is saving water with its reservoir project

Devon Energy Corp. is on track to reuse 3 million barrels of water in its drilling operations in western Oklahoma this year, thanks to an innovative recycling project.
BY JAY F. MARKS Published: September 14, 2012

The facility is big enough to accommodate every barrel of water produced from completed Devon wells within a radius of about 10 miles, so it can be reused in future wells.

Heinze said Devon has two crews working 24 hours a day on completions, with almost enough recycled water to supply half of the needed water for one of them.

He said some wells are completed with 100 percent reused water, but the percentage varies based on the amount of water in the reservoir.

Oklahoma wells yield produced water that is low in salts, or total dissolved solids, so Devon does not have to distill it before it is recycled for other operations, Heinze said.

“The longer this system's in place and the more wells we hook up to it, the less fresh water we'll need because we'll have more of the produced water, the flowback water, that will be available for new well completions,” Heinze said.

The system is designed to be able to serve Devon's operations across 33 sections of land, with nine wells drilled on each section.

“We're kind of just getting the ball rolling here,” Dean said.

Heinze said Devon hopes to duplicate the process in other areas as its operations move on.

The company has not disclosed the cost of the project, which is ongoing, but it expects to save money because Devon will not have to truck in as much water.

The project has diverted more than 7,400 truckloads of disposed water from county roads.

“Cost saving wasn't the primary motivator behind this project,” Allen said. “The facility allows us to have the water we need to continue our operations in a drought-prone area.”