Prior to drilling a well, an evaluation of supply water is performed which includes consideration of volume and water quality requirements, regulatory and physical availability, competing uses, proximity, means of transport and characteristics of the geologic formation to be fractured; a source of water is then selected based on these factors and permits are applied for under applicable regulations.
Wastewater on the surface must be carefully managed. The infrastructure required to gather, store and move wastewater associated with unconventional resources development is not overly complex, but provides opportunities for human error, accidents and spills. We seek to mitigate these risks with a disciplined approach to water management through our Operations Integrity Management System and through close tracking and reporting on spills.
Water management is highly dependent on local factors and disposal is subject to federal and state requirements. XTO examines the options in each operating region and weighs them based upon availability and practicability. In most cases, wastewater is injected into deep underground reservoirs through disposal wells, which are regulated by federal Safe Drinking Water Act requirements.
We are constantly seeking innovative solutions for addressing wastewater issues throughout our operations. For example, in Colorado, XTO Energy’s coal bed methane operations in the Ratón Basin produce an average of 1.5 million gallons of water per day. This produced water, which is a naturally occurring by-product, is released into the environment after being treated in accordance with applicable regulatory requirements and benefits agriculture, wildlife and recreation in this often water-scarce region. XTO Energy manages this produced water stream in a way that blends it into the natural environment, such as introducing it into what were once dry streambeds.