Understanding the link between water and the gas industry

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Understanding the link between water and the gas industry

Water is a versatile and valuable resource. And, although it may be valuable, it’s also a scarce resource in some parts of the world. Water is used and needed by households and businesses daily.

One of the few industries that have a high water usage level is agriculture. The oil and gas industry doesn’t use twice as much water; however, it is important to understand the relationship between the two. This will ensure that water is protected so that we still have this valuable resource for many more years.

And, that it goes back into the environment, clean and of the highest quality. To understand the relationship between oil, gas and water, and how its wastewater can be treated, read the article below.


Fundamental things needed to be known about water

Earth is surrounded by 71% of water. However, 96.5% of that water is seawater, and the remaining percentage is split between ice caps, glaciers, water vapour and drinking water.

So, industries must understand that, even though Earth is covered by water, the majority of that water isn’t consumable for humans, animals and plants. However,  this isn’t the reason why there is a water shortage. In fact, the water shortage has been a concern for years because of high human demand and climate change.

This is mainly because, over the years, there has been a rise in population and business, which has affected water levels. Climate change, on the other hand, has caused droughts and floods that have initially caused water shortages for other parts of the world. So, when it comes to water, businesses should always find ways to ensure water is being utilised properly and is being saved.


The relationship between water, oil and gas

As mentioned before, compared to other industries, the oil and gas industry uses less water. But the oil and gas industry still consume and produce water and wastewater. Therefore, it needs to have water treatment plants installed. For oil and gas, water is used through the processes of; drilling, hydraulic fracturing, and refining and processing. Water used during the production phase is groundwater or water found from rivers or lakes.

However, when there is a high demand for water, the oil and gas industries use from alternative water resources. This is where a water treatment plan can be beneficial for the oil and gas industry. When there is a high demand, alternative water sources will be needed such as desalination or brackish groundwater.

When it comes to transporting, water is usually transported in trucks to proceed with the drilling, hydraulic fracturing, and refining and processing. The effluent water from the processes will go through a wastewater treatment plant. You can find wastewater treatment in South Africa easily as there are many water treatment specialists available.


What needs to be done with the water produced after processing

Water produced during hydraulic fracturing and drilling processing is salty, and often contains oil residue, chemicals and contaminants. But, before the water goes back into the environment, the water quality needs to be examined. Water purification is important at this stage where all the oil, contaminants and particles in the water need to be removed. This ensures that the water is safe for human consumption and repurposing. In the past, the produced water would either be disposed or reused. However, to comply with environmental regulations, oil and gas companies need to ensure that the water is rid of any contaminants before it goes back into the water supply.  If the water hasn’t gone through treatment and hasn’t been converted to potable water, it will impact the quality of air in surrounding areas. Or if the untreated water leaks, it will contaminate groundwater, which isn’t beneficial for the environment and neighbouring communities.



It’s always beneficial to know and understand the relationship between water, gas and oil. It helps business owners make the right decision for their business and, more importantly, for the environment. Taking care of the environment should be at the forefront for business owners, especially ones that are in the industries that cause harm. Unknown or unpredicted oil spills can be hazardous for animals and causes water pollution. And, can contribute to climate change. So, it’s up to businesses to follow the right measures to ensure that they continue to do their work without causing harm to the environment.

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