Oklahoma Water Survey Workshop – Analysis and Discussion of Oklahoma’s Oil and Gas Operations and the Protection of Water Resources

Oklahoma Water Survey*
October 25, 2012

Purpose: To convene experts with multiple perspectives in a one-day workshop to discuss and evaluate the relevant data and information pertaining to oil and gas operations and the protection of water resources within the State.

Program:  The Oklahoma Water Survey is holding four technical workshops on water resource management issues of importance to the State of Oklahoma. These workshop discussions focus on current topical areas addressed in state and federal legislation, the current Oklahoma Comprehensive Water Plan, and the media. The first workshop is entitled “Oil and Gas Operations and the Protection of Water Resources”.

Goals:  The workshop is centered on four goals:

(1)   to present current scientific facts regarding the practices being used in oil and gas operations and in the identification of risks to water resources,

(2)   to identify needed research related to the potential impacts on water resources,

(3)   to provide an opportunity for participants to interact with technical experts and gain up-to-date information, and

(4)   to elevate the knowledge level on the topic among public leaders, industry, state agencies, and the general public.

Background:  Oil and gas operations across the U.S. have increased dramatically over the last decade with the increased use of high-volume hydraulic fracturing which has enabled increased production efficiency in all types of oil and gas formations. This technology uses significantly more water than earlier oil and gas operations and presents new challenges in terms of the protection of water resources.

Outcome:  The information presented and considered will inform the public and identify research that advances the safe practice of these operations. Outputs will include electronic materials used in the workshop and a Proceedings document that will be distributed widely and posted to the Oklahoma Water Survey website. Participants can subsequently use this information and the analyses from the workshop for communication and decision-making purposes.

Participants: Technical experts from the oil and natural gas industry, consulting firms, universities, state and federal agencies, and environmental organizations are being invited to participate in the workshop. These attendees are subject-matter experts and participants whose positions require knowledge about recent cutting-edge science on the topic of oil and gas operations and the protection of water resources.

Workshop Setting: The workshop will be held in the new Design Laboratory in the Stephenson Research and Technology Center on the Research Campus of the University of Oklahoma. As the most advanced teaching and learning facility in Oklahoma, this site provides unparalleled information technology to support interactive consideration of complex issues.

Preparation: In preparation for the workshop, participants will be invited to post data and information electronically on the Design Laboratory server (additional information in electronic form may also be brought for sharing during the workshop). Participants will decide how to use any or all of this information during the workshop.

Schedule: The approximate schedule is as follows.

  • 8:00 am
    • Introduction
  • 8:15 am
    • Session I. Water availability, supply: Exploring the economics and availability of non fresh water resources; competition for fresh water resources with other fresh water needs; impacts from drought on water availability now and in the future.
  • 11:00 am
    • Session II. Produced water treatment, recycling and disposal. Explore economics of different options or combinations and impacts of new frac fluid compositions as it relates to treatment, recycling, and disposal options.
  • 2:45 pm
    • Session III. Holistic management approaches for developing new plays/basins. What are the advantages both economically and environmentally?
  • 5:15 pm
    • Summary and adjourn

*The University of Oklahoma Board of Regents established the Oklahoma Water Survey (OWS) as an organized research unit on January 26, 2011. The mission of the Oklahoma Water Survey is to study the state’s water resources and to collect, analyze, interpret and disseminate data and research-based information about water. It acts as a catalyst for education, research and outreach on water issues and works with federal, state and tribal governments, organizations, businesses, communities and citizens who have interests in Oklahoma’s water resources.



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