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New laws could pump billions of dollars into Permian Basin’s rapidly growing water recycling industry

Midland oilfield water company XRI bought the the water treatment and recycling division of Dallas-based Fountain Quail Energy Services in an April 2019 deal. Financial terms were not disclosed but XRI plans to expand water recyling in the aird Permian Basin of West Texas and southeastern New Mexico. Photo: Courtesy Photo / XRI

Houston Chronicle - Business / Energy

Whether by pipeline tanker, truck or hose, more water is moving around the arid Permian Basin than crude oil at any given moment.

Water has become the lifeblood of the modern energy industry with hydraulic fracturing using high-pressured slurry of water, sand and chemicals to unlock oil and gas from shale formations in Texas and across the country. In the arid Permian Basin, the nation’s most productive oil field, drilling and fracking operations consume more than 195 million gallons of water per day in West Texas and southeastern New Mexico — enough water to fill nearly 300 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

All this has made water and water management in the Permian a big business that’s only expected to get bigger, following the recent enactment of three laws in Texas and New Mexico, the two states encompassing the sprawling oil basin. The laws, which essentially clarify water rights issues and encourage the reuse of water, could pump billions more dollars of investment into the region’s rapidly growing water recycling industry. Read more…

Permian Needs $9 Billion Worth of New Wells—But Not for Crude

Permian Needs $9 Billion Worth of New Wells—But Not for Crude

Frack fluid is stored in a pond in Texas. Photographer: Callaghan O’Hare/Bloomberg

As much as $9 billion will be needed over the next decade just to throw away dirty water in the world’s busiest shale field, according to Raymond James & Associates Inc.

The scale of the challenge is mind-boggling: drillers typically pump 30 Olympic-sized swimming pools of water into an oil well to fracture the surrounding rocks. In return, as much as 10 barrels come rushing back out for every one barrel of crude, Raymond James analyst Marshall Adkins said in a note to clients on Monday.

Given that recycling efforts aren’t robust enough to handle the 17.5 million barrels of dirty water produced DAILY in the Permian Basin of West Texas and New Mexico, oil companies have to do something else with all that salty slurry, Adkins said. After all, so-called produced water is 10 times saltier than seawater and can be tainted with heavy metals and radioactivity.

“Most investors are simply unaware of the fact that as crude production grows, produced ‘dirty’ water grows even faster,” he wrote. “As the Permian Basin shifts further into manufacturing mode, the water growth we project will create the need for nearly 1,000 additional salt water disposal wells by 2030.” Read more…

Dirty water holds biggest promise, Jefferies says

WorldOil.com - By David Wethe on 6/24/2019

HOUSTON (Bloomberg) — For companies that haul oil and natural gas, the next big thing may be dirty water, according to Jefferies Group LLC.

As booming U.S. oil production unleashes a torrent of contaminated water that rises to the surface with crude, pipeline operators may be in the best position to harness those flows and expand into the water-handling business, said Peter Bowden, Jefferies’ global head of energy investment banking.

In the Permian basin alone, the combination of saltwater from wells and water used in the fracing process is expected to be three times larger than crude output by 2023, according to Jefferies. Pipeline owners already are adept at transporting oil and gas, so adding water to their portfolios may be a logical next step, Bowden said Friday at an Oilfield Water Connection conference in Houston.

“Water is going to offer them more growth than their core business,” he said. “There’s a case that the public midstream companies should be doing all three streams everywhere they can.”

There have been more than $2.5 billion of Permian-focused water deals so far this year, according to Gabe Collins, a fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute. Many of the transactions have involved private-equity firms, he said during the same conference.

Enterprise expanding oil exports and more along Houston Ship Channel

msn.com  - Jordan Blum, Houston Chronicle

Houston’s Enterprise Productions Partners said it will greatly expand its Houston Ship Channel terminals to export more crude oil, propane, butane and petrochemicals

Enterprise said it is concentrating the expansion at its Houston Ship Channel terminal south of Channelview, including the construction of an eighth dock to increase its crude oil-exporting capacity by nearly 45 percent from Houston.

Enterprise also will greatly expand its liquefied petroleum gas export capacity - primarily butane and propane - and add new refrigeration storage capacity so it can ship out more propylene, which is the primary petrochemical building block of many plastics.

This is all part of an ongoing build out of Enterprise’s pipeline, storage, processing and exporting network that has rapidly expanded since the advent of the Texas shale boom. Enterprise has recently built massive crude oil and natural gas liquids pipelines stretching more than 500 miles from West Texas’ Permian Basin to the Houston area. Read more…

 

Dirty water holds biggest promise, Jefferies says

WorldOil.com - By DAVID WETHE on 6/24/2019

HOUSTON (Bloomberg) — For companies that haul oil and natural gas, the next big thing may be dirty water, according to Jefferies Group LLC.

As booming U.S. oil production unleashes a torrent of contaminated water that rises to the surface with crude, pipeline operators may be in the best position to harness those flows and expand into the water-handling business, said Peter Bowden, Jefferies’ global head of energy investment banking.

In the Permian basin alone, the combination of saltwater from wells and water used in the fracing process is expected to be three times larger than crude output by 2023, according to Jefferies. Pipeline owners already are adept at transporting oil and gas, so adding water to their portfolios may be a logical next step, Bowden said Friday at an Oilfield Water Connection conference in Houston.

“Water is going to offer them more growth than their core business,” he said. “There’s a case that the public midstream companies should be doing all three streams everywhere they can.”

There have been more than $2.5 billion of Permian-focused water deals so far this year, according to Gabe Collins, a fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute. Many of the transactions have involved private-equity firms, he said during the same conference. Read more…

 

Who knew? There’s a global helium shortage — and it could pop more than balloons

But out of the vastness of southwestern Saskatchewan, a solution is emerging

business.financialpost.com - Gabriel Friedman - May 17, 2019 - 7:05 PM EDT

Party balloons constitute only a small percentage of the helium market.Postmedia

Out of the vastness of southwestern Saskatchewan, a solution is emerging to a little-discussed problem — a gap in the global helium supply chain.

In recent years, as fears of a helium shortage creeped up, prospectors have journeyed to the Canadian heartland and drilled deep into the earth in search of helium; and at least one company there has already started commercially producing gas. Read more…

Not just Party City: Why helium shortages worry scientists and researchers

“Helium is the workhorse of chemistry. Because of a helium shortage, some important experiments are being forced to shut down,” one physicist said.

NBCNEWS.COM - By Mary Pflum

This month’s announcement from Party City that it’s closing more than 40 stores as it grapples with new challenges, including diminishing helium supplies, likely came as unwelcome news to customers who count on the store for their balloon and event planning needs.

But for scientists like Mark Elsesser, the announcement was something of a relief, inflating hopes that the public, and the government, might start paying closer attention.

“When it comes to helium, we’re at a tipping point,” said Elsesser, who is the associate director of government affairs at the American Physical Society, a nonprofit association of physicists. “Party City has made our job a little bit easier when it comes to getting helium on people’s radar. Helium is something we need to address.”

Elsesser said news coverage related to Party City’s difficulties in sourcing helium cast a long-overdue spotlight on an element that’s often overlooked and underestimated. Read more…

Helium is in short supply, hitting balloons and scientific research

CNBC.com - PUBLISHED THU, APR 11 2019  8:34 PM EDT - Huileng Tan@HUILENG_TAN

Helium shortage ripples around the globe

MNN.com - KATY RANK LEV - June 3, 2019, 1:32 p.m.

Birthday parties and grand opening celebrations are often celebrated with helium-filled balloons bobbing in the breeze, but scientists say it’s time we abandoned this wasteful practice. We are currently experiencing the third shortage in 14 years, and much more critical uses of this gas are at risk.

The colorless, odorless, tasteless, nontoxic gas is primarily used to cool things, with its biggest commercial use being MRI scanners. Other critical uses of the gas include cooling infrared detectors and nuclear reactors, machinery for wind tunnels, operation of satellite equipment, and to pressurize fuel tanks for space travel.

But the supply of helium is likely to get even more unpredictable soon because there are too few sources of the gas here on Earth, according to Smithsonian magazine. Ironically, helium is the second most abundant element in the universe, the majority of it created during the Big Bang. But here on Earth, it’s rare, with much of it transformed at refineries in the United States and Qatar. Read more…

The Future of Helium Is Up in the Air

 
The world is experiencing a shortage of the gas, a byproduct of natural gas production, threatening MRIs, scientific research and birthday parties

Sorry to burst your balloon, but the world is currently experiencing its third major helium shortage in the last 14 years, putting more than just party decorations at risk.

Heather Murphy at The New York Times reports that the shortage recently made headlines when Party City, the chain store perhaps best known for being the place to get bunches of helium balloons, announced the closure of 45 of its 870 stores. Many people, noting that recently some of the stores have been out or short of helium, blamed the low supply of the gas. Corporate headquarters, however, say the closures have nothing to do with helium shortages. Nevertheless, the story brought to light the fact that helium is currently being rationed.

Helium is the second most abundant element in the entire universe. So why can’t we keep it in stock? Soo Youn at ABC News reports that here on Earth helium is kind of hard to come by. It’s created during the decay of uranium and thorium underground and is collected along with natural gas. During natural gas processing it’s then separated out into a transportable liquid form. But doing that is expensive, and it only takes place at 14 refineries in the entire world, with seven in the United States, two in Qatar, two in Algeria and one in Poland, Russia and Australia, respectively. Phil Kornbluth, a helium industry consultant, tells Murphy that currently natural gas projects that produce helium in many of these areas are running low on supply, and large projects that were anticipated to be up and running by now have either been shelved or are running behind. Read more…

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