Why Is Water An Important Component Of Oil And Gas Production?

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Water plays a critical role in oil production and exploration.  Most oil exploration companies currently use enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques, such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, to recover this scarce resource.  EOR mainly refers to techniques that are used in extracting the remaining inaccessible oil reserves after the initial extraction and drilling.  EOR techniques include injecting gases, such as carbon dioxide, and fluids including water into a reservoir to recover the remaining oil deposits. Water is used in numerous ways discussed below during oil and gas production.

Water flooding

After the primary recovery of oil, large volumes of water are injected into the reservoir. The main aim of this process is to increase the reservoir pressure such that the remaining inaccessible oil is pushed into the producing wells.  It is important to remember that the reservoir pressure is depleted after the initial recovery of oil and gas. Water not only boosts the reservoir pressure but also physically sweeps the oil displaced during injection into the production wells ready for collection.


Fracking is another EOR method that is used by most oil companies. Water is mixed with chemicals and sand and then injected into the reservoir at a very high pressure.  The main aim of this technique is to create or open up the existing natural fractures in the underground shale. New fractures act as conduits through which large volumes of oil and gas can flow into the well ready for collection.  One of the main advantages associated with fracking is that it transforms previously uneconomical wells into financially viable reservoirs.

Oil sands

Land masses that are usually saturated with bituminous petroleum that is highly viscous and dense are known as oil sands. Producers inject large volumes of water at a high pressure into the oil sand.  Slurry that is created from this process is then piped, skimmed and oil is extracted.

Clearly, water is a vital component of the oil and gas exploration process as it helps in further recovery of fuel. Nevertheless, the oil wells also produce vast quantities of waste water and fluids.Some of the water produced is recycled and used in the EOR techniques discussed above. The excess must be removed and disposed from the site to avoid environmental pollution. Due to this, oilfield water haulers make up an important part of the exploration and production process.They mainly comprise of tanker trucks that are equipped with a vacuum and used to transport this waste water and fluids from the drilling location to the approved disposal sites. Contact a water company, like KWI , for more information.