In 2014, the global market for water management services and technologies in the onshore oil and gas industry is estimated to be worth $37.9 billion, according to a new report from Global Water Intelligence. This figure is expected to grow at 6% a year, in line with increasing oil and gas production.
The report, "Water for Onshore Oil & Gas," focuses on water treatment in three segments of the oil and gas industry: produced water management, hydraulic fracturing and enhanced oil recovery.
The volumes of produced and flowback water associated with the production of oil and gas are constantly rising, according to the report. This is due to an increase in unconventional oil and gas production, which requires more water per unit of product recovered, and an increase in water to oil ratios in mature oil fields. By 2020, the onshore oil and gas industry will generate more than 500 million barrels of produced water a day, according to the report.
This report gives an idea of the challenges involved in managing produced and flowback water: strict regulations, scarce water sources and few disposal options. These challenges are not exclusive to the oil and gas industry. Treating produced or recycled water as a resource instead of as a waste can be a benefit to not just those in that industry, but also to water utilities, municipalities and communities everywhere.