--> Mixing Oil And Water: When Collaboration Yields Crops

Pacific Section AAPG Convention

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Mixing Oil And Water: When Collaboration Yields Crops


Located along the southeastern edge of the San Joaquin Valley is the giant Kern River oil field, the fourth largest oil field in the United States. Just a few miles from the oil field, valley farmers need water for irrigation. Mature oil fields, such as Kern River, produce lots of water. Around 757,000 barrels of water, or 98 acre-feet, are produced each day along with Chevron oil production at Kern River Field. Chevron reuses about 30 percent of this water to generate new steam to enhance oil production and for other in-field uses. However, the remaining water, approximately 66 acre-feet, represents what would normally be a costly disposal problem and lost opportunity for water reuse. In 1994, Cawelo Water District and Chevron recognized that the produced water from Kern River oil field was a safe and reliable source of agricultural water and entered into a mutually beneficial relationship. An 8.5-mile pipeline was built to connect Cawelo local reservoir with the Kern River oil field. As a result, Cawelo is able to acquire large quantities of water at a very reasonable price, and valley farmers have a source of water for irrigation even in drought years. Chevron conducts a rigorous monitoring program to ensure the quality of its produced water prior to sending it to Cawelo. The water Cawelo receives from Chevron is governed by a permit issued by the Regional Water Quality Control Board.