Halliburton Co. is teaming up with Nuverra Environmental Solutions Inc. in the Bakken Shale to advance a produced water recycling project for unconventional oil and natural gas drillers.

To date, Halliburton has completed more than 60 wells and 280 hydraulic fracturing (fracking) stages in the Permian Basin and Bakken Shale using its H20 Forward Service, which reduces the amount of fresh water required in the stimulation process.

“Our goal is to help the industry use less fresh water,” said Halliburton’s Walter Dale, who is strategic global business manager for Water Solutions. “We have advanced the technology but understand that logistics remains a challenge. By working with Nuverra, we are confident we can help reduce the fresh water used for any customer with net economic and environmental benefits under the H20 Forward initiative.”

H2O Forward offers chemical precipitation units, basic/advanced filtration, frack fluid chemistry and solutions that completion services that deal with scale inhibition, biocides, hydrogen sulfide scavengers and water clarification. For fracking operations conducted by Halliburton in the Bakken that use H20 Forward, Nuverra would provide logistics, transportation, storage and overall fluid management.

At a Society of Petroleum Engineers conference earlier this year in The Woodlands, TX, Halliburton and ExxonMobil Corp. engineers presented a paper detailing how much water recycling can reduce costs. The paper focused on produced water from wells in Eddy County, NM, in the Delaware Basin of the Permian, where there was more than 164 million boe produced in 2011. Most of the high-saline produced water was being reinjected into disposal wells at an average cost of 75 cents-$1.00/boe.

“Caused in part by the persistent drought conditions in New Mexico, beneficial use of produced water is receiving attention in the oil and gas industry…Typically, wells in the Delaware Basin require 40,000-60,000 bbl of fresh water each” for fracking jobs. The seven-well recycling program used Halliburton’s H20 Forward system, substituting more than eight million gallons of produced water for fresh water, saving $70,000-100,000/per well in water management costs.

“Maximizing the treatment and recycling of water used in hydraulic fracturing is a key initiative for the industry and an area of strategic focus for our company as we expand our environmental treatment and recycling solutions,” said Nuverra CEO Mark D. Johnsrud.

The H20 Forward Service would allow customers to recycle waste streams of produced water in well completions. The service formulates stable fracking fluids to work with any waste stream, including water containing total dissolved solids with values as high as 285,000 parts per million.

Water recycling has become an ever-increasing focus for exploration and production companies. Energy industry efforts to reduce the amount of water used in fracking through recycling and other means have to be stepped up if unconventional resources are to grow as projected, according to Ceres, which runs an influential institutional investor coalition (see Shale Daily, May 6).

States and interstate compacts increasingly are clamping down on water resources used in unconventional oil and gas plays.

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission earlier this month said it planned to take a look at regulatory and water monitoring developments related to shale gas (see Shale Daily, July 8a). The Delaware River Basin Commission also is considering revisions to its water quality regulations that could allow shale gas drilling (see Shale Daily, July 8b).

Illinois lawmakers last month passed a drilling bill that includes tough sanctions on water contamination, and Maryland is floating draft fracking rules that would require flow back and produced water to be recycled to the maximum extent practicable (see Shale Daily, June 28; June 4). Texas lawmakers this year also passed a bill to encourage drillers to recycle their wastewater for reuse at drilling sites (see Shale Daily, May 28).