In September 2016, Apache Corporation announced the discovery of a new oil and natural gas resource play in the southwest corner of the Permian Basin, the Alpine High. The geographic outline of the play extends over 60 miles and stretches across the southern half of Reeves County, Texas.
The new play represents a substantial opportunity for the area, and Apache is committed to developing the resources in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.
Apache is still in the early stages of putting together a long-term development plan but is taking the unique natural resources of the area into account as plans are devised.
Apache Corporation is making a long-term commitment to the area and its residents. To alleviate community concerns and demonstrate our interest in working with the community, Apache has voluntarily established drilling exclusion zones within its acreage position. Specifically, the company will not drill in or under Balmorhea State Park or in or under the city limits of Balmorhea, Texas.
Apache employs best-in-class practices in our operations. In addition to meeting all legal requirements and acquiring all necessary permits, Apache takes proactive steps beyond what is required to further enhance the safety of our operations. Below is a sample of the key issues we are working on in the area.
Apache works to ensure the integrity of its wells and to protect groundwater resources through various methods including:
These efforts are part of a continuous program to monitor operations and ensure they are meeting our high safety and environmental standards.
In October 2016, Apache announced a partnership with the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) to conduct a baseline water quality study of groundwater and surface water in the Alpine High resource area. Read the UTA Press release +
Apache understands the challenge of operating in water-scarce regions, which is why, throughout its history, the company has developed innovative approaches to reducing the use of potable water. For example, Apache has implemented programs across Texas that rely on nonpotable water, such as recycled produced water (water that comes back up the well during flow-back operations), brackish water and municipal wastewater.
To meet the initial needs of Apache’s program in the area, the company is primarily purchasing water from landowners. Apache has also entered into an agreement to purchase water from the Reeves County Water District (RCWD). To date, water from the district has only been used for one exploration well. The water was withdrawn in accordance with and as directed by the RCWD. All water withdrawn was metered.
The company is currently evaluating the possibility of using brackish water and water recycling programs for longer-term operations in the area. Apache is an industry leader in the innovative use of recycled water and was one of the first oil and gas companies to implement an on-site water-recycling program with its Barnhart development in West Texas. The company recently established a similar program to meet the water needs of its Pecos Bend project.
Brackish water use coupled with a water recycling program brings numerous benefits. By using a brackish source to meet operational water needs, we do not compete with needs for potable water (such as drinking and agriculture), and by recycling our water, we minimize the amount that must be transported by truck and disposed.
Learn more about Apache’s water recycling efforts:
Fracking without freshwater at a west Texas oilfield, Reuters
Apache fracs Wolfcamp wells without fresh water in dry Barnhart project area, Oil & Gas Journal
Apache Reduces Freshwater Usage in the Permian, Shale Play Water Management
More information on Apache’s commitment to water conservation can be found in the company's Sustainability Report here: http://www.apachecorp.com/Sustainability/index.aspx
Apache has been a strong advocate for the disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing on www.fracfocus.org, and the company is continually looking for ways to reduce the amount of chemicals used.
Apache’s progress toward more environmentally friendly hydraulic fracturing was recognized in a report published by environmental stakeholders from As You Sow, Boston Common Asset Management, Green Century Capital Management and the Investor Environmental Health Network. Apache has been repeatedly recognized as one of the highest performing companies on the group’s scorecard, which evaluates companies on disclosure of chemical use, water and waste management, air emissions, community impacts and management accountability. Click here to see the report.
Apache Distinguished Engineering Advisor George King has produced a primer for anyone who would like to learn more about hydraulic fracturing. Titled “Hydraulic Fracturing 101,” this Society of Petroleum Engineers paper can be accessed by clicking here. King is a professional petroleum engineer whose expertise in the field of oil and gas exploration and production is well-known throughout the industry.
More information on Apache’s commitment to safe practices and environmental stewardship can be found in the company's Sustainability Report here: http://www.apachecorp.com/Sustainability/index.aspx
The McDonald Observatory actively works with the oil and gas industry to identify best practices for light pollution mitigation and protect the dark skies of West Texas. Apache is working with the McDonald Observatory to ensure all of its operations are Dark Sky Initiative compliant in the area. This includes using LED bulbs, ensuring that all lights are properly aimed away from the skies, and shielding lights when possible. Observatory personnel have been out to visit our locations in Reeves County to assist and make recommendations for improvements. Apache will continue to work with the observatory in this manner.
Read more about oilfield best practices to protect dark skies in the report “Oilfield Lighting Can Coexist With Dark Skies” found on the McDonald Observatory website.
Apache continues to lead the way in our road safety efforts and remains committed to protecting our workers and communities on the road. Where possible, Apache consolidates its supply chain to help reduce traffic load, evaluates the driving record of transportation companies before selection, and works to ensure drivers are competent and qualified to operate vehicles safely. Additionally, we encourage the use of ride-sharing services by our contractors to and from company locations to reduce vehicles on the road.
As an example of the company’s commitment, Apache helped launch the Permian Road Safety Coalition, a nonprofit organization comprised of industry, state transportation agencies, local governments, community members and other stakeholders invested in addressing road safety issues and impacts on local communities resulting from industrial activities. The coalition serves as a forum for operators, service companies, trucking companies, government and nongovernmental organizations to identify issues and solutions, and work together to address challenges throughout the Permian Basin Region. Our members are focused on promoting infrastructure improvements and identifying best practices within the industry, collecting and acting upon vehicle incident data, and raising awareness in our communities to further improve road safety.
Click here to find out more about the Permian Road Safety Coalition
Questions regarding Apache’s operations in Reeves County, Texas, can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling Apache’s toll-free 24-hour hotline +1 855-296-6400.
Click here to download the Alpine High brochure.