Aug. 29–A Texas energy group has taken issue with the conclusions of a recent Duke University that water use in the booming Permian Basin oil field of West Texas skyrocketed between 2011 and 2016.
The study, published in mid-August, said water use in the Permian had increased 767 percent between 2011 and 2016, and that water use across all six of the U.S. shale plays studied had increased. The report was compiled by researchers at Duke University’sNicholas School of the Environment and was published by science journal Science Advances.
In a statement, John Tintera, president of the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers, said his group “appreciates” the resources that Duke University put into the studies on hydraulic fracturing, the process used to crack shale rock and extract oil and gas. But he noted that North Carolina, where the university is located, does not have an crude oil reserves or production.
Tintera made his own summary of the Duke University report — “If you use water to drill oil wells, and you drill more and bigger oil wells, you will use more water.”
He pointed to the increase in oil production in Texas, which the Department of Energy says increased from 529 million barrels in 2011 to 1.17 billion barrels in 2016.
According to a study by the Texas Bureau of Economic Geology, he added, water use for shale gas in the state was reported at less than 1 percent of statewide water withdrawals. The 2012 study, however, noted that water use on the local level could vary.
In the Barnett Shale near Dallas, water for fracking — the method used to crack and extract oil and gas from shale reservoirs — represented around 9 percent of the water used by the City of Dallas.
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