The increasing importance of water as a commodity is one where the ramifications of business decisions can play a key role in not depleting the available amount. One of those companies making inroads in this approach is Shell Oil, which is finding a way to re-use the wastewater one of its oilfields uses.

Shell Water supply

In Wyoming, the company’s Pinedale Anticline Project Area (PAPA) is able to produce among its 400 natural gas wells a total of 350 million cubic feet worth of that commodity on a daily basis. The vast amount of land these wells takes up is approximately 21,000 acres.

Numbers like that for a gas field that’s estimated to be the United States’ third largest means that massive amounts of water need to be used on a daily basis. Once it’s used, the wastewater usually has little or no value for any further use.

However, Shell has been able to get back roughly half of that water by sending what’s used from each well to one specific area. It’s a complicated multi-part process but one that shows environmental promise.

That process involves de-oiling the water and removing other contents like sand, metal and salt. Included in this method are filtration and softening approaches and managing the sludge that’s an inevitable part of the product.

Of course, the economics are a key reason for the growing popularity of this method. That’s especially true in a business climate for energy companies that has forced them to deal with oil prices that have taken steep drops over the past two years.

In addition, the surge in natural gas development has resulted in massive amounts of that commodity, which has led to some smaller companies being forced to either close up or sell to more financially-solvent competitors.