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Conference highlights produced water innovation in oil and gas industry

"The next step we're all working towards is beneficial use outside the industry."

MIDLAND, Texas — Leaders in the oil and gas industry attended the Permian Basin Water in Energy Conference Thursday to discuss produced water.

Produced water is the water that comes out of the ground with oil.

"Water management has always been something that has been part of the oil and gas industry," said Mark Phan, Permian Commercial Manager for XTO. 

Industry leaders gathered at the Midland County Horseshoe to bounce ideas off of each other and discuss new technology when it comes to produced water.

"Our conversations this year focus on reuse of produced water, and then the cleanup concentrations that you have to reach to enable that beneficial reuse," said Phan.

The industry has made big strides in reusing water within the industry.

"The next step we're all working towards is beneficial use outside the industry, and that takes additional technology and steps to make sure water quality is good enough to use in other aspects," said Phan.

"The holy grail would be able to use it for agriculture," said Richard Brantley, conference chairman. "There may be some industrial uses that could be explored prior to that, that you wouldn't have to clean the water up quite so much."

To do that, it's going to take smart minds and cooperation.

"You've got a very large problem, and a very motivated industry to solve that problem, makes a great combination." said Phan. "It unlocks another water source for a water-scarce environment, and we're really excited about working on those opportunities."

All the money from the conference will go back to the University of Texas Permian Basin, their students and their programs.

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