This paper analyzes the benefits of water infrastructure in various onshore regions as it relates to stakeholders and sustainability. Companies’ and stakeholders’ benefits, impediments and other trends are discussed, as well as the sustainability aspects of water infrastructure for specific projects. Business sustainability is often defined as managing the triple bottom line - a process by which companies manage their financial, social and environmental risks, obligations and opportunities. These three impacts are sometimes referred to as profits, people and planet. (Financial Times. 2017.)

The evaluation process included analyzing public disclosures and interviews with oil and gas companies, regulators, service companies and other stakeholders.

The oil and gas industry continues to move a significant percentage of water by trucks in most U.S. basins. Discussions with leading companies suggest that more infrastructure is being planned by operators and third parties. In many cases, companies are sharing water infrastructure and planning to use infrastructure jointly. The benefits of water infrastructure include lower costs, more flexibility to use multiple sources of water, aggregation of larger volumes of produced water to allow efficient water recycling facilities, reducing community impacts by reducing trucks on the road, reducing air emissions, reducing freshwater use and reducing water disposal due to ability to recycle more effectively. Impediments to building water infrastructure include: up front capital costs, regulatory constraints, obtaining right-of-way and the planning cycle for producing companies. In spite of the impediments, successful infrastructure projects are being planned and developed. In fact, a new trend is showing multi-company projects where several producers may share the infrastructure. Specific projects are highlighted for their sustainability.

What is striking about the different regions of the U.S. is how their water challenges vary. Key limitations and parameters include insufficient source water, limited disposal capacity, regulatory variation, amount of contiguous acreage held by companies, topography, proximity to urban centers and availability of public roads. Additionally, variations in the targeted formation depth, rock properties and formation fluids necessitate different hydraulic fracturing practices which put different constraints on water management plans. Because of these variations, generalized strategies are not practical; rather, customized solutions are best designed and engineered to meet an area's unique and specific needs.

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