Centralized Water-Management Facilities in the Piceance Basin

Fig. 2—Area of development (each box represents 1 sq mile).

The Piceance basin in western Colorado is a long-term play expected to produce for another 20 years or more. Given this extended time horizon, the operator implemented a permanent and centralized water-management infrastructure to control costs and improve profitability. The role of the centralized water-management facility (CWMF) is to treat water produced from natural-gas wells; recover oil and condensate; operate within federal, state, and county regulations; and consistently provide high-quality treated water for hydraulic-fracturing operations and disposal.


Properly designed, implemented, and operated water-management facilities (WMFs) provide the means for controlling water-movement costs. WMFs also allow for predictable operations and provide a consistent high-quality water product on demand for hydraulic fracturing. Three types of WMFs will be discussed in this paper (these can be permanent or temporary):

  1. Centralized pumping stations for water transfer
  2. Pipelines
  3. Centralized water-treatment facilities

Once it is determined that a facility is needed, the decision to build a permanent or a temporary facility is driven primarily by economics. The operator needs to complete an economic analysis comparing the total cost of building a permanent facility with the cost of using contract services and rented equipment to accommodate the business need. For a discussion of cost analysis in this context, please see the complete paper.

This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper SPE 169586, “Strategies and Methods for Centralized Water-Management Facilities in the Piceance Basin,” by Joseph J. Lobato, SPE, WPX Energy Rocky Mountain, and Gary Zolnosky, Chem Treat, prepared for the 2014 SPE Western North American and Rocky Mountain Joint Regional Meeting, Denver, 16–18 April. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
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Centralized Water-Management Facilities in the Piceance Basin

01 December 2014

Volume: 66 | Issue: 12


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