By Mella McEwen email@example.com
Advances in hydraulic fracturing, coupled with horizontal drilling advances, unleashed a flood of new crude oil and natural gas production from the Permian Basin. Those advances also unleashed a flood of demand for water and that, in turn, unleashed a flood of concern about fresh water supplies. Those concerns prompted Stan Weiner — a veteran of the oil and gas industry whose father, grandfather and two uncles are in the Permian Basin Petroleum Museum Hall of Fame — to found STW Resources. The company was founded on the principle that reclaiming and reusing fracturing flowback and produced water was both an economic and environmental necessity.
Alan Murphy has now been installed as chairman and chief executive officer of Midland-based STW Water Process & Technologies and chief executive officer and chairman of the board of STW Resources Holding Corp., with plans to continue recent trends of introducing new water reclamation and reuse technology.
In January the company hosted a demonstration of a water treatment system licensed by SaltTech of The Netherlands and based on Dynamic Vapor Recompression (DyVaR) cyclonic centrifugal crystalization formation process. The DyVaR units can treat produced, flowback or fracturing water, water with high levels of total dissolved solids or high- salinity water and generate fresh water for use in future drilling, completion or fracturing operations. That eliminates the expense of purchasing fresh water and trucking it to the location, as well as the expense of disposing of produced water.
“That’s one of many technologies we’re going to bring in as a water solutions-based company,” Murphy said.
As the new CEO, he said he plans to widen the company’s focus from primarily treating reusing, recovering and reclaiming water to finding alternative water sources no one is using and cleaning up that water for municipal, agricultural, industrial or oil and gas use. “The primary focus I have currently is on the water needs of West Texas,” he said.
The recent drought and influx of people drawn to the area’s booming economy has created a need for water sources that is sustainable and can continue to support the growth of oil and gas activity and new businesses coming into the area, he said.
Technology to clean alternative water sources will be sought and demonstrated by the company, he said.
A small DyVaR unit is providing drinking water to Mentone in Loving County. The company just received a permit from the Middle Pecos Water District that will allow it to drill, produce and transport water from the San Andres formation for utilization within Pecos County and surrounding areas. Murphy has had talks with city officials from Midland, Odessa, San Angelo and Abilene on implementing technology to reclaim and clean water to provide a source of drinking water for their residents.
Municipalities aren’t the company’s only focus. Next month the company will demonstrate technology that is designed to take waste water from the oil field and clean it so that it can be used for agricultural purposes.
“While we’re helping one industry, we’re helping others,” he said.
Desalination technology also will be a major focus, he said. Earlier this year the company demonstrated the DyVaR system in Corpus Christi, using it to turn ocean water into fresh water for residents and creating a revenue stream for the minerals removed from the ocean water. Those minerals can be used in products like batteries.
The company will combine new technology with existing technology to improve performance. For example, Murphy is looking at a new species of bacteria that eats hydrocarbons. If feasible, that bacteria could clean water before it’s sent through filtration.
Murphy said he has made the rounds of major financial centers from Los Angeles to New York seeking investors to help finance the company’s major projects. He said his efforts have been extremely successful because of the company’s portfolio and its water-based services.
Investors in Los Angeles and San Francisco “love the fact we’re bringing green technology to oil and gas and creating clean water. The oil and gas industry is not the bad guy. I remind them that, if it wasn’t for electricity, they wouldn’t have water, and without water they wouldn’t have electricity. We need power, we need oil and gas.”
Oil and gas operators are quick to embrace new technology that would allow them to reclaim, clean and use fracturing water, flowback water or produced water, Murphy said. “They understand the need; it affects their bottom line,” he said. “I’ve met with CEOs in Houston and in Midland. They want ways to use other water sources other than fresh water.”
The company is prepared to not only design, engineer, install and start water systems and train customers to use them but also maintain those systems. Murphy said he keeps tools in his pickup and will head out to the field to work on a problematic system, even when called at 2 a.m.
“Our job is to find the technologies that work, that work economically and that I will stand behind. I won’t put out a technology I won’t stand behind,” he said.
Posted: Saturday, December 19, 2015 11:30 pm | Updated: 5:25 pm, Mon Dec 21, 2015.
By Mella McEwen firstname.lastname@example.org
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