Hydraulic Fracturing’s Rebound? Forecasting Its Impact on Water Management

20 May 2017  |  Reese Tisdale

The hydraulic fracturing sector’s call for water management solutions has been kickstarted by a resurgence of drilling activity in 2017. On the heels of a U.S. horizontal rig count that has climbed past 650– up from a monthly average of 414 in 2016– water demand is again on the rise. But… this is only part of the story.

An inventory of more than 83,000 completed, horizontal wells have already required supply, transport, treatment, and disposal services for more than 350 billion gallons of water since 2011. To put this in context, this would fill approximately 530,000 olympic sized swimming pools.

Because of this experience and innovation, the energy sector has developed techniques to drill faster and deeper wells that now require as much as 12 million gallons per frack, or triple the volumes needed five years ago. As a result, produced water volumes will outpace demand for supplies, even if the rig count stays flat year-over-year. The simple takeaway is that this wastewater will need to be managed.

Bluefield’s current basin-by-basin analysis and forecast for water management, which exceeds US$250 billion over the next decade, highlights the emergence of new and critical inputs that are influencing energy players’ water and wastewater strategies.

Unquestionably, a US$50 per barrel of oil market environment has laid waste to hundreds of energy service companies, many of which are now in bankruptcy. The upside of this shakeout, however, has been a more concerted effort by surviving companies to focus on cost cutting and operational efficiencies, including a focus on alternative water supply and recycling.

The hydraulic fracturing sector is still in its infancy and companies, including water service providers, across the industry value chain are adapting to the impacts of regulatory shifts, competition, technology advancements, and geopolitical influences.

To support companies addressing water for fracking, Bluefield Research has embarked upon another deep-dive analysis, Water for U.S. Hydraulic Fracturing Market: Competitive Strategies, Solutions, & Outlook, 2017-2026. This Market Insight maps the rapidly changing landscape to enable more informed business decisions and strategies. As you go forward looking for signals of a sustained rebound…

What’s your bluefield strategy?

Reese Tisdale is the President of Bluefield Research, a market research and insight firm focused exclusively on supporting companies addressing opportunities in water.