In arid southeast New Mexico, Devon recently worked with state regulators to effect a rule change allowing for impoundment of produced water in double-lined storage ponds. Mobile units treat the water to make it compatible for reuse. The result: New wells are being completed primarily with recycled water.

This is the latest of several high-profile water-conservation initiatives dating to 2004, when we chose to recycle water in the first U.S. shale play, the Barnett Shale. Additionally, we use only non-potable water for the steam needed to produce heavy oil at our three Jackfish facilities in Canada. In western Oklahoma, we installed a pipeline network to carry water to and from a recycling facility that has conserved nearly 300 million gallons.

Driving these pioneering efforts are two core Devon values: Always do the right thing and be a good neighbor.

We live out these values by developing water strategies specific to local needs and based on guiding water principles posted on our website. This means establishing best practices, advancing technology and engaging stakeholders for mutually beneficial outcomes. 

For instance, in New Mexico, Devon led the effort in 2015 for the necessary rule change to make water reuse economically feasible. Concurrently, Devon worked with its vendors to adjust the hydraulic fracturing chemistry to assure the success of the water reuse program. Over the following year, despite reduced activity caused by low oil prices, Devon preserved 220 million gallons of freshwater. Combined with a third-party pipeline system, this initiative also has reduced truck traffic by about 250 trucks per day.

This endeavor succeeded because state regulators, the public and industry collaborated to achieve their mutual goal of conserving water. Both the partnership and the outcome typify the sort of water solutions we incorporate throughout our operations.