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For fracking operations to continue in the future without running against much opposition, more oil and gas producing companies must also consider the environmental effects of their operations. Among the pressing issues in the industry is the heavy use of clean water that could severely deplete the supply in an area. There have been efforts to make the recycling of water used in fracking more widespread but the costs involved have discouraged many companies from implementing such measures.
Oil and gas companies can easily obtain fresh water at a low price. In some estimates, the cost is a little over one cent per gallon. Additionally, in some states like Texas, the disposal of wastewater is much cheaper than the costs of recycling. In comparison, recycling adds costs for additional processes and transport and many companies are unwilling to take those on.
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Necessity has forced many to reconsider, however. For instance, a drought in Texas has convinced more companies to consider produced wastewater as an asset rather than a liability. Meanwhile, the presence of water recyclers in oil fields is noticeably growing but there is still a long way to go before recycling becomes mainstream. With more improvements in this necessary step, what was once considered a revenue-draining requirement may be turned into an opportunity for additional profits.
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Dr. Ali Ghalambor is the author, co-author, and editor of several books and more than 160 technical articles and manuals on hydraulic fracturing and related topics. For more updates on the natural gas industry, visit this Facebook page.