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NMSU, NMED team with Occidental to support produced water technology testing

The New Mexico Produced Water Research Consortium, a joint effort between the New Mexico Environment Department and New Mexico State University, announced today it will partner with Occidental, the Permian Basin’s largest acreage holder and one of its largest oil producers, in a cooperative agreement to help facilitate safe and reliable field testing and evaluation of pilot and large-scale innovative produced water treatment technologies.


The pilots will be designed to generate the operational cost and performance data needed to advance the technical and ecological knowledge necessary to consider reusing produced water for applications inside and outside the oil and gas sector.

“We are pleased to partner with Occidental to support the important work of the consortium to fill science and technology gaps associated with the treatment and use of produced water,” said Mike Hightower, program director of the consortium. “This partnership will provide opportunities for technology testing while handling and keeping the treated produced water within currently approved and permitted impoundments.”

NMSU Chancellor Dan Arvizu said the partnership with Occidental will enhance the university’s ability to apply its research and technical expertise to support the goals and objectives of the NMED and consortium partners.

“With support from Occidental, we’re continuing to put in place the groundwork needed to evaluate new technologies and advance toward sustainable solutions,” Arvizu said. “We’re grateful for their partnership.”

Dan Mueller, a senior manager with Environmental Defense Fund, also welcomed the news.

“We are pleased that Occidental is helping the consortium effort,” Mueller said. “It is important to evaluate water treatment technologies under real-world conditions to narrow knowledge gaps pertaining to the possible use of treated produced water.”

As part of this cooperative agreement, Occidental will make selected oil production and produced water storage sites and facilities in New Mexico available for use by the consortium for field demonstrations, in compliance with all applicable regulatory requirements. While the consortium is not yet approving field-scale pilot projects, this agreement lays the foundation for future consortium-approved vendors to access and use of Occidental oil, gas, and produced water production, handling and storage facilities and infrastructure to support pilot-testing and evaluation projects. Access to field sites and produced water infrastructure will help reduce pilot planning, scheduling and testing costs.

The consortium’s proposal review and selection process will be designed to ensure that vendor operations and testing will meet all Occidental site operational and environmental safety, health and security policies, regulations, and practices. Occidental will maintain responsibility for operational, safety and health management of pilot projects conducted at its field sites.