Permian Basin Fracturing Systems Using Produced Water

Fig. 1: Average water use per well by type of production.

In areas where freshwater costs and produced-water-disposal costs are problematic, operators and service companies have shown the desire to use produced and flowback water in field operations to enhance overall completions economics. This paper details the experience of using new stabilized crosslinked-fracturing-fluid systems in the Permian Basin using borated produced water. The new fracturing-fluid systems are designed to delay the crosslinking time when needed, using the boron already present in the water.


In the US, nearly half of the wells hydraulically fractured since 2011 were in regions with high or extremely high water stress and more than 55% were in areas experiencing drought. In Colorado and California, 97 and 96% of the wells, respectively, were in regions with high or extremely high water stress. In New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming, the majority of wells were in high- or extremely-high-water-stress regions. In Texas, which currently has the highest concentration of hydraulic-fracturing activity in the US, more than half of the wells examined (52%) were in high- or extremely-high-water-stress regions. The World Resources Institute defines high water stress as more than 80% of available surface and groundwater being allocated for municipal, industrial, and agricultural uses.

This article, written by Special Publications Editor Adam Wilson, contains highlights of paper SPE 172811, “Permian Fracturing Systems Using Produced Water,” by Sarkis Kakadjian, SPE, Joseph Thompson, SPE, Robert Torres, Antonio Pontifes, Amanda Rodriguez, and Yahia Ait Hamlat, Trican Well Service, prepared for the 2015 SPE Middle East Oil and Gas Show and Conference, Manama, Bahrain, 8–11 March. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
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Permian Basin Fracturing Systems Using Produced Water

01 December 2015

Volume: 67 | Issue: 12


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