3 Ways A.I. Is Reducing Water Strain In The Permian Basin

By: Prateek Joshi, Founder of Plutoshift and Mike Hormell, Plutoshift Strategic Advisor and Oil & Gas Executive.

After a long history of relying on foreign oil suppliers, technological innovations and substantial investment in the area of unconventional oil and gas extraction have left the US as the top oil-producing nation in the world. Thanks to innovations over the last few decades like microseismic solutions, horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, US producers have been able to utilize oil reserves that were historically too difficult to tap.

Looking forward, investments in artificial intelligence, cloud computing and IoT technology promise to drive efficiency and production even further in the coming years.

But what does this progress mean for water usage and conservation in a booming but arid location like the Permian Basin? By producing upwards of 4 million barrels of crude per day with dozens of companies operating more than 460 drilling rigs, stress on the region’s water is only going to grow as the boom continues.

At Plutoshift, we believe that water is worth its weight in gold, so we provide operators with the advanced insights into their water data they need to stay competitive and sustainable. Here are three ways A.I. solutions are saving water in the arid, but vital Permian Basin:

A.I. Is Reducing Water-Related Maintenance Costs

Due to the sheer volume of production and the water-intensive nature of hydraulic fracturing (195 million gallons of water is used per day in west Texas and southeastern New Mexico), injection well operators need to maximize how they use water on-site in order to meet daily disposal requirements and other contracted disposal volume commitments. By leveraging IoT technology at their wells, operators are able to improve their abilities to predict costly maintenance issues before they become big problems. Problems like pump failures and unexpected pressure issues can often result in downtime and reduced well utilization, impacting its bottom line.

A.I. can help cut costs by making the millions of micro-decisions and measurements required to keep operators one step ahead of equipment malfunctions. Plutoshift offers oil and gas operators solutions that extend from customized views on operational intelligence to fully automated alerts based on producer risk parameters.

A.I. Is Making Water Reuse Programs More Efficient 

In the dry and often remote Permian Basin, wastewater disposal costs can account for a third of total expenses for producers, making it vital they get every ounce of benefit from their supply. And with demand on wastewater disposal resources expected to double in the next two to three years, finding new and innovative ways to improve upon water reuse processes is an imperative task for A.I. applications.

A.I. sensors at the well site are able to ingest large quantities of unstructured data collected from frac water, and by utilizing historical data, make constant recommendations to more cost effectively achieve water quality criteria and meet reuse requirements. To unlock the true value of their water resources, operators can’t rely on data after the fact. In our own recent research, 76% of respondents from oil and gas and other industries said they need solutions that analyze data in real-time.

A.I. Is Helping Solve Oil And Gas’ Labor Crisis 

While the oil and gas industry has historically not been as quick to adopt new technologies as others, in part due to complications of operating in the field as opposed to in the plant, leading companies are now embracing digital transformation initiatives at high rates. A.I. is a huge sector of investment for firms that are in the process of recruiting new workers that bring different skills to the table. The estimated value of A.I. is expected to grow from $1.57 billion in 2017 to $2.85 billion by 2022, with North America serving as the dominant market.

Accenture Strategy released a report outlining the looming talent shortage in the industry, predicting that in the “… exploration and production side of the industry alone, they could face a shortage of as many as 40,000 engineers, geologists and other technical professionals by 2025.”

As A.I. and other technological initiatives draw in new generations of workers, water conservation efforts and profits have the potential to improve significantly.

Interested in learning more about how PlutoShift’s A.I. can help improve your oil and gas operations? Contact our team today, we’d be happy to show you more. Also, be sure to stay connected by following us on LinkedIn and Twitter.