Equinor is committed to using resources efficiently, and reusing or recycling as appropriate. This reduces environmental impact and can also save costs. The sharper focus of investors on issues such as water, energy and land management reflects concerns about emerging costs, shortages and regulatory risks.
Building on a strong legacy of energy efficiency, we are now increasing our efforts on water management and fresh water consumption.
Most of our operations are located offshore, where desalinated water is used to a large extent. Our manufacturing and processing operations in Denmark and Norway, where fresh water is abundant, account for almost half of our total fresh water consumption.
We recognise the specific water management challenges related to our oil sands and shale activities. This is the area stakeholders are most concerned and where we also make increasing efforts.
Water management in our shale operations
In our shale activities in the US, we promote the responsible use of water, from sourcing to disposal. Even in areas of adequate water supply, water efficiency remains a priority and we minimise water usage and prioritise non-potable sources when possible. We seek to protect groundwater sources by securing well-integrity through the deployment of rigorous technical and operational standards.
Our approach includes:
- Evaluating local conditions and circumstances and working with local water authorities to find suitable water sources
- Assessing local needs to avoid disruptions to communities
- Conducting environmental evaluations to identify sensitive areas and wetlands
- Disclosing chemical additives through the FracFocus database (www.fracfocus.org) and evaluating chemicals
- Utilising water pipelines when possible to reduce truck traffic and road damage
- Seeking ways to limit the use of fresh water through measures such as water recycling
We have successfully tested a new technology using 100% produced water on two wells in collaboration with Schlumberger at Bakken (‘The Bakken water pilot project’). The objective of the pilot was to develop and test technologies that can contribute to limiting freshwater consumption. This is achieved by using produced water as a substitute for freshwater in hydraulic fracturing. The technology may also yield an additional benefit to the community due to reduced truck traffic. The test project was unique among operators in the Bakken area and involved collaboration with several service companies and the state regulatory authorities. Going forward, Equinor will assess production performance, complete ongoing laboratory studies and determine best practices for the application of this technology.