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Market Research Report

The Future of the Water Midstream: Emerging Opportunities for Water Players in the Permian Basin

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The Future of the Water Midstream: Emerging Opportunities for Water Players in the Permian Basin
Published: February 7, 2020 Content info:


The Permian Basin is currently the most productive oilfield in the world with oil production surging past 4 million bbl/day in 2019. Unprecedented levels of produced and flowback water from drilling operations have followed, with 4 - 10 barrels of water for every barrel of oil.

The EIA predicts that crude oil production in the southwest United States will double by 2030, driven by the expansion of tight oil production in the Permian Basin. Oilfield water management will become an increasingly urgent problem in this region as produced water volumes follow production. Traditional water management practices will increasingly fall short of the complex and developing needs of E&Ps, and a new business group - ‘the water midstream' - has surfaced to optimise the logistics of water management on the oilfield at scale and to tackle the developing challenges associated with infrastructure needs and economic and regulatory pressures. Services and midstream companies are increasingly building and interconnecting a vast array of water assets to offer upstream oil & gas clients full-cycle water management services such as sourcing, water gathering, transportation, disposal, and treatment.

A Water Infrastructure Business

An estimated $9-11 billion of private capital has been committed to the oilfield water midstream business to date, and a further $16 billion of private investment is projected to be required, much of which is expected to be in the Delaware Basin. Signalling a new model for water management that has implications for the water sector as whole, the Future of the Water Midstream ‘Market Focus Deck' maps the future direction of the rapidly developing Permian Water Midstream market and showcases the associated opportunities for water players in infrastructure development, produced water treatment, recycling, and investment in what is currently one of the world's largest water markets.

There are significant opportunities for water players who want a stake in the new ‘water midstream', but this is a fast-moving market that is poised to quickly determine the winners and losers. Scoping out the market and implementing your strategies for involvement at the earliest stage is essential. This ‘Market Focus Deck' offers the forecasts, market insights and competitor intelligence you need to capitalise on the opportunities.


Key market players

A directory of the top 20 producers and the top 20 water midstream companies along with analysis of the market structure and dynamics, so you can pinpoint your potential clients, partners or competitors, and plan your market entry or consolidation strategy.

Geographic breakdown between Permian sub-basins

Conditions differ across the Permian, so sub-basin-specific analysis will allow you to better understand where growth is happening, where to best position your business and how market opportunities may vary.

Water Midstream market drivers and trends

Success in this market depends on a concrete understanding of the groundwork, changing ground rules, regulatory constraints and the developing logistical and financial demands of producers. This is a comprehensive and essential guide both for new market entrants and existing players.

Market forecasts

Forecasts of capital and operating expenditure on water management by activity; forecasts for US natural gas and crude oil production by resource type; and projected US produced water volumes by resource type

Legislation and regulation updates for both Texas and New Mexico

From increased regulatory scrutiny around traditional water management practices to opportunities being opened through new legislation, we analyze how regulatory constraints are driving water management trends and how this differs from state to state.


Crude oil production in the United States in oil barrels

  • Forecast of production by resource type, 2017-2050: Conventional onshore, conventional offshore, tight oil, heavy oil (steam EOR)
  • Forecast of tight oil production by region, 2017-2050: Permian Basin, Rest of the USA
  • Historical data describing tight oil production by basin: Permian Basin, Eagle Ford, Bakken, Other

Natural gas production in the United States in cubic feet

  • Forecast of production by resource type, 2017-2050: Conventional onshore, conventional offshore, shale gas, coalbed methane
  • Historical data describing shale gas production by basin: Marcellus/Utica, Permian Basin, Haynesville, Other

Produced water volumes in oil barrels

  • Forecast of produced water volumes in the United States by resource type, 2017-2050: Conventional onshore, conventional offshore, shale gas/tight oil, heavy oil (steam EOR), coalbed methane
  • Forecast of produced water volumes in the Permian Basin by resource type, 2017-2050: Conventional onshore, shale gas/tight oil

Spending on water management activities in US dollars, 2017-2030

Capital expenditure

  • Water transfer: Including investment in new pipelines for transport for transport of source water for hydraulic fracturing, flowback water, and produced water.
  • Water disposal: Including drilling of new disposal wells for produced water
  • Water treatment: Including investment in centralized facilities for treatment of produced water and pretreatment of water for hydraulic fracturing

Operating expenditure

  • Water sourcing/supply: Includes fees paid for fresh water for use in hydraulic fracturing.
  • Trucking/hauling: Includes fees paid to operators of hauling companies for transport of source water for hydraulic fracturing, flowback water, and produced water.
  • Water transfer: Includes fees paid to operators of third party pipelines for transport of source water for hydraulic fracturing, flowback water, and produced water.
  • Water treatment: Includes the operating cost of treating and conditioning water for hydraulic fracturing, and treating flowback and produced water before recycling and disposal.
  • Water disposal: Includes fees paid to operators of third party disposal wells and the operating costs of in-house disposal.


What is driving opportunities in the water midstream?

Sustaining oil & gas production in the Permian Basin is contingent on E&Ps ability to efficiently manage increasing volumes of produced water and on the development of infrastructure that can meet the regulatory, economic and geological pressures threatening to bottleneck operations. Produced water reuse is emerging as a cost-competitive opportunity for E&Ps to meet pressures associated with frac water demand and SWD permit slowdowns. It is estimated that currently 13% of all the produced water generated in the Permian is reused within hydraulic fracturing operations and this figure is likely to double in the next few years, driven by the emergence of the water midstream business.

What are the opportunities?

Producers are contracting out whole services packages to water midstream companies so they can focus on their core operations, and the resulting opportunities for water sector partners are also significant. The ‘Future of the Water Midstream’ Market Focus Deck will explore how this shift is driving significant opportunities in:

Infrastructure development

Including pipelines, water storage, produced water treatment facilities (mobile and centralized, treatment for reuse and treatment for disposal), and SWDs in the Permian's Midland and Delaware sub-basins. Those that can secure land grants and those who have strategically positioned disposal and treatment facilities will have a competitive advantage in securing contracts. This Market Focus Deck provides critical forecasts, insight into infrastructure needs and analysis of market dynamics to inform your strategy for involvement and to help you pinpoint key clients and potential partners.

Private equity investment

Midstream Water companies mostly rely on large amounts of capital investment in order to finance their infrastructure or buy assets. In the face of oil price stagnation and uncertainty, produced water is an attractive investment for private equity suppliers who want a less-risky way to invest in the growth potential of the Permian. Getting in the game now will ensure higher returns, this Market Focus Deck is an essential tool for identifying the areas with the greatest return potential and will provide essential insight into midstream players and consolidation activity.

Water Midstream market development

As the market consolidates, midstream companies need to strategically position themselves to benefit from he need for large, integrated asset systems and recycling capabilities. Building the right assets now and investing for infrastructure is crucial in securing contracts in the future, this Market focus deck will help water midstream businesses to identify where to strategically position their operation, what assets will be beneficial, how regulations will impact the market, and what future trends could shape their strategy.

Water treatment

There is significant demand for proven digital and water treatment technologies that meet the needs of the market, particularly as recycling becomes more widespread. Both the niche and established water technology businesses should scope out potential markets for their solution now to gain a foothold. This Market Focus Deck provides forecasts for water treatment/recycling alongside analysis of treatment requirements between basins and the market for centralized and mobile treatment systems - critical intelligence to inform your pitches to potential clients.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Executive Summary
  • 3. Development of U.S. Unconventional Oil&Gas Market
  • 4. Water needs and Water Management in the Shale Plays
  • 5. Market Spend
  • 6. Market Dynamics
  • 7. Market Structure
  • 8. Top 20 Producers and their Needs
  • 9. Top 20 Midstream Companies and their Offerings
  • 10. Conclusion
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