Whiting understands and respects water as a limited natural resource and is committed to responsible water use. We recognize that our water use affects neighboring communities, governments, businesses and industries, and we remain dedicated to using water responsibly and effectively while developing energy resources. Whiting strives to obtain fresh water from nearby water resources and minimizes water consumption by only using the necessary volume of fresh water. Where possible, we utilize pipelines to transport fresh water, eliminating haul trucks and their associated emissions and road traffic.
Learn more about Whiting’s approach to responsible water use in the section below.
RESPONSIBLE WATER USE
To further our commitment to responsible water use, Whiting has developed a Water Strategies Committee responsible for:
- increasing water efficiency
- evaluating water sources that have less of an impact on the environment and communities
- investigating the viability of water recycling technologies.
The Committee is developing metrics to measure and assess our responsible water use. In addition, Whiting has partnered with other industry members in the Energy Water Initiative to study, describe and improve water use and management. These efforts help us evaluate and reduce our impact to neighboring communities and the environment.
Since Whiting’s water needs, along with water sources, differ across our operations, the following sections describe our commitment to responsible water use in our shale play hydraulic fracturing operations.
Water Volumes Used in Northern Rockies Well Completion Operations
Bakken Shale Play
When possible, Whiting reduces its fresh water use by substituting both recycled produced water and municipal wastewater for fresh water. The Water Strategies Committee is exploring expansion of produced water recycling. The table below provides fresh and produced water usage metrics for our Bakken shale play.
DJ Basin Shale Play
In Whiting’s DJ Basin shale play, fresh water needs are met primarily by private, non-tributary groundwater sources in Weld County, Colorado, due to the limited availability of surface water sources. All fresh water is transported via pipeline to its end-use point, which has eliminated approximately 28,000 water haul truck trips and associated air emissions and traffic. Our water transported by pipeline is estimated to reduce approximately 2,455 tons of greenhouse gas and 15 tons of nitrogen oxide emissions, each year.
Whiting Water use for Well Completions
|Year||Fresh Water Usage (bbl)||Recycled PW Usage (bbl)||Municipal Water Usage (bbl)||Total Water Usage (bbl)|
Water Use Intensity
Water intensity values should be put in context with respect to the baseline production numbers, as well as the number of completions in a given year. In years with few completions scheduled, water usage will be lower while production numbers reflect modest growth or even modest decline. In years with more completions scheduled, water usage will appear higher while production numbers reflect higher growth. Likewise, higher baseline production numbers are less impacted by increases from new completions compared to lower baselines.
|Year||Water Intensity (gal/MMBTU)|
Nearly all of Whiting’s produced water, as well as flowback water from hydraulic fracturing operations, is disposed of via deep well injection. In these cases, water is injected into porous geologic formations that are permitted and regulated for this process. We leverage Whiting-owned, as well as third-party, injection wells for our disposal needs. In all cases, injection rates and pressures are closely monitored to ensure there are not adverse effects from the injection process. In rare cases, the produced water can be discharged for beneficial reuse. All disposal and discharge methods follow applicable rules and regulations.
PROTECTING WATER SOURCES
Whiting is committed to responsible resource development and protecting all sources of water in the areas within which we operate. As described in the following sections.
Baseline Groundwater Sampling Program
Whiting evaluates and monitors pre- and post-drilling groundwater quality through its Baseline Groundwater Sampling Program. Prior to the well conductor being set, available water sources (e.g., stock wells, drinking water wells, surface water features) are sampled to assess the baseline groundwater quality. Following hydraulic fracturing, additional samples are collected from the same water sources, to evaluate if groundwater quality was affected by completion activities. Baseline groundwater sampling is mandatory by law in Colorado and is regulated by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC). In states that don’t require baseline groundwater sampling, such as North Dakota, Whiting is still committed to protecting water sources, and has instituted a voluntary baseline groundwater sampling program.
Sakakawea Area Spill Response LLC
Whiting is part of the Sakakawea Area Spill Response LLC (SASR). This group is made up of oil and gas companies that operate near the upper Missouri River and Lake Sakakawea regions in North Dakota. SASR created a limited liability company to provide resources to respond quickly and comprehensively to an open water spill. The goal is to minimize the impact of potential incidents and protect residents and the environment.
While Whiting and other member companies have spill response plans and spill response capabilities, the aim of SASR is to increase preparedness and, in the event of a spill, coordinate and expand those capabilities. SASR is not meant to replace a company’s long-term spill response resources nor to act as a spill responder.