Water Issues for Oil & Gas Producers
To assure compliance and to make intelligent operational decisions, oil and gas producers should be familiar with laws pertaining to the right to use water and to the protection of its quality. Issues that arise regarding the ownership, production, and use of water probably will seem quite familiar to those involved in oil and gas production, for good reason. Both water and the two minerals are fluids, are found in the ground, move through pores in subsurface soils, and may be produced by the drilling and use of wells. These similarities in physical and geologic characteristics are reflected in similarities in the laws governing their ownership and production. And for oil and gas producers, protection of water quality should be a day-to-day concern.
This paper seeks to identify for the oil and gas producer parallels and interrelationships between water and oil and gas, and the laws that govern their ownership and production. It discusses: the physical relationship between water and oil and gas; issues relating to their ownership and use; the right of the oil and gas producers to use water; and water quality-related liabilities and regulatory concerns of oil and gas producers.