US Produced Water Volumes & Management Practices in 2021

Posted by Erica Carr on 12/06/2022

GWPC released the fourth edition of Produced Water Volumes and Management Practices - a publication that documents and assesses national produced water volumes and management practices employed by operators across various states and regions.

This most recent edition uses 2021 data for analysis. Previous editions relied on older data; however, the surge in more recent data available may be due to states' increased use of online operator reporting tools as well as in-house Risk Based Data Management (RBDMS) applications - a product of the GWPC.

The report analyzes data collected from 36 states. The majority of states (26) provided answers to a questionnaire. Four states reported no production and the remaining six states provided alternate instructions for obtaining data.

Key Findings:

  • The production of crude oil, natural gas, and produced water all increased between 2017 and 2021.
  • Eight states reported more than 1 billion bbls of produced water in 2021.
  • Texas retained the top spot with roughly 8.1 billion bbls of produced water in 2021 (a decline compared to the 2017 report data, which may be due to unaccounted reuse water for hydraulic fracturing operations)
  • The reuse and recycling industry has initiated a big push to recycle in the Permian. In fact, the recent Draft Report titled “Beneficial Use of Produced Water in Texas: Challenges, Opportunities and the Path Forward” as prepared by the Texas Produced Water Consortium, mentions a 1,170,000,000 bbl volume that is being reused by the industry for hydraulic fracturing in the Permian Delaware and Permian Midland basins alone. This amount coupled with other unreported or untracked recycling in other basins across the states of Texas and New Mexico alone would represent an enormous volume, increasing the total 2021 produced water volume by an estimated ~2,000,000,000 bbls. 
  • The report also corrects Illinois produced water volume from 2017, and the resulting extrapolated volume for 2021, which vaulted Illinois into the second rank for 2021 production totals and would have also made them second in 2017. Much of this produced water is round-trip water from enhanced oil recovery operations.  

The report was prepared for GWPC by ALL Consulting. For a complete analysis, reported numbers, and conclusions download the full report via the GWPC Web site.