Produced Water Management
We store produced water (primarily produced and flowback water from well pads) in temporary and permanent tanks on producing well pads. Most water is recycled and the remainder is injected into disposal wells owned by third parties. To mitigate spills and leaks, all storage tanks on producing well pads are located within secondary containment and the perimeter of the well pads have an earthen berm to prevent materials from migrating offsite, acting as tertiary containment.
In 2019, Antero Resources implemented operational changes to increase the reuse of produced water downhole in completion activities. Antero Midstream provided localized mobile treatment facilities to treat and recycle produced water from Antero operations. Antero Midstream blended treated water with fresh water and transported it, using trucks or pipeline infrastructure, directly back to an Antero Resources well pad for downhole use in completion operations. In 2019, 66% of total produced water generated was treated and reused downhole in completion operations. Year to date as of August 31, 2020, the percentage of produced water generated that was reused in operations is 88%.
Table 8 provides a summary of produced water generated by Antero Resources operations since 2017 and the various methods used to reuse or dispose of the produced water. It is important to note the increasing trend in recycled and reused water volumes and a decrease in the volume of water sent to injection since 2017.
1. Antero considers produced water treated at the centralized Antero Clearwater Facility or at local blending treatment facilities to be “Recycled” water.
2. Water taken directly to a well pad for use downhole, such as stormwater or water accumulated in secondary containment, is included under the “Reused” category.
Antero does not currently utilize residuals or waste products from the company’s operations for purposes other than hydraulic fracture stimulation and brine generation for downhole use.
Antero does not dispose of its produced water by discharging to the surface or waterways. All of Antero’s produced water is either treated for reuse downhole, sent for disposal via underground injection wells, or sent for solidification and offsite disposal, thereby minimizing exposure to human and environmental receptors.
Hydrocarbons are recovered to the extent feasible and sent to a used oil recycler for processing and reuse (e.g. fuel oils, heat recovery, etc.). Additional details of the oil recycling program can be found in our Waste Summary section.
Over the past two years, and in partnership with Antero Midstream, Antero Resources has dramatically increased its field level recycling and reuse of produced and flowback water. Since 2017, Antero Resources has increased the volume of produced water recycled from 2% of overall water used downhole to 41% of overall water used downhole year-to-date in 2020. 59% of water used downhole is fresh water from our fresh water infrastructure. Produced water recycling is primarily done at in-field water blending facilities.
By increasing recycling and reuse of water for downhole operations, Antero has proportionally reduced the number of truck trips on roads in and around our operating areas. From 2017 through year-to-date 2020, Antero Resources has recycled nearly 20 million barrels of produced water from its operations. This resulted in a reduction in just over 2 million miles of truck traffic on local roads. In turn, the reduced truck traffic has eliminated 8,930 metric tons of CO2e emissions since 2017. For 2019, the reduction is equivalent to carbon sequestration of 8,286 acres of U.S. forests in one year, according to the EPA equivalency calculator.
Figure 11 illustrates that in 2019, over 33,000 truck trips were eliminated as a result of increased produced water recycling and reuse.