Demand for water used in well completions in the Permian doubled over the past two years and growth will continue, according to a new report.
To emphasize the tremendous growth in demand for frac water, the report from Rystad Energy noted that Permian completion activity used more water in 2018 than all domestic fracs in 2016.
Frac water demand will grow 6 percent in 2019 and reach 2.5 billion bbl by 2020.
More wells completed and higher proppant intensity are the growth drivers, “but even with such steep growth, market concerns about sourcing challenges and bottlenecks appear to be minimal,” said Ryan Carbrey, Sr. Vice President for Shale Intel, at Rystad’s Houston office.
Increased flowback volumes are driving demand for more reuse of treated water. Water treatment volumes increased 28 percent in 2018 to 1.4 billion bbl. At that pace, reuse volumes will double 2016 levels next year.
As additional high-capacity water midstream operations come on line, water treatment volumes are predicted to increase more than 800MM bbl. by 2021, Carbrey added.
Produced water disposal is not seen as a significant issue basin-wide, although “some operators are having local difficulties,” Carbrey said. Water disposal options are expected to tighten by 2021 unless additional infrastructure is added.