Every morning, Karen Work and her husband Jim wake up in their New Mexico home, say goodbye to their two Australian shepherds and travel the roughly one-hour drive across the Texas state line to the active oil and gas operations in the Permian Basin. Located in West Texas and southeastern New Mexico, ConocoPhillips holds approximately 1 million net acres in this arid part of the country. Important work is being done here. Karen and her team are pioneering the future of water management.
Karen is ConocoPhillips’ water management supervisor in the Permian Basin. Her team is actively working on a solution to address excess water that is produced after the hydraulic fracturing process. The solution; recycle it.
Well development involves injecting a water/sand mixture into the well bore to create tiny cracks in shale layers, releasing the natural gas and oil trapped in the rock. To recycle the water, the idea is quite simple:
The process has the potential to save about 500 million gallons of water per year, or the equivalent of 750 Olympic-sized swimming pools. This is critical in an area where water is precious. The project is set to launch early this year.
“To me, it’s a perfect example of how this industry is doing the right thing for the environment and the communities where we operate.”
– Karen Work, ConocoPhillips
Karen’s and ConocoPhillips’ approach to responsible water management represents an industry working hard to provide much-needed energy while responsibly minimizing the impact of its operations.
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