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Production engineers know all too well that the old adage about oil and water just isn’t so; if it were, their jobs would be a whole lot easier.
But it’s not only in the production stream that oil and water are intertwined - water is an integral part of hydrocarbon development in all its forms. It is a critical ingredient of many drilling muds. It is injected into mature fields to push hydrocarbons to production wells. It is pumped downhole as steam to liquefy tar sands and heavy oil. As fracturing fluid, it cracks shale to allow the free flow of natural gas from the rock - requiring about 1-5 million gallons of water per fracture.
Of course, extracting oil and gas produces a lot of water as well - about 10 barrels per barrel of oil in mature areas such as the US.
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