As part of the Oil & Gas industry we must address the challenge of finding a balance between the water and energy. Just as water is used to produce energy, energy is essential in water extraction, transport, and treatment.
All of our company’s areas use water as part of a key process, both in our industrial centers for refining and chemicals and in our production assets. The majority of water consumption occurs at our refineries and chemical plants, where it is primarily used for cooling processes and steam production. In conventional exploration and production activities, the challenge is to manage production water, which is extracted with the crude oil. Water is also a key component in hydraulic fracturing for our shale gas activity.
At Repsol we have been sustainably managing water at our facilities for decades, focusing our efforts on finding new solutions to minimize the use of this natural resource, using it more efficiently, and preserving its quality. In recent years we have gone one step further to consider water as a strategic resource while at the same time reinforcing local management at all of our facilities, applying uniform environmental practices and standards shared by the entire company.
This led us to look for a way of implementing the concept of a circular economy in how we use water. The Circular Economy is a new production and consumption model based on the principle of “closing the life cycle loop” of products, services, waste, materials, water, and energy. When this concept is applied to water, it entails using the resource over and over again, which is what happens in the natural cycle.
With this in mind, at Repsol, we are carrying out efficiency and innovation actions in processes by optimizing water networks, increasing the recirculation of water from treatment plants to cooling circuits at our facilities, investing in the recovery of condensate for recirculation, increasing the use of water from municipal waste water treatment plants in processes, and encouraging the reinjection of water produced in producing wells.
To facilitate water management, we use our own Repsol Water Tool (RWT), which gives us a detailed vision of how we are managing this resource, as well as showing us the risks associated to each facility, both internally and externally.
With the results of this analysis, and as part of a process for continuous improvement, our water management focuses on three lines of work: improving our understanding of the environment and of how water is used, efficiently managing resources, and improving the technology we use to treat water.