ConocoPhillips is committed to the development and use of water management practices that conserve and protect freshwater resources and enhance the efficiency of water use in our operations.
Natural gas development outperforms many energy sources in using water efficiently. ConocoPhillips is committed to the continuous improvement of its operations in all areas where the quality and availability of this precious resource are involved. We focus on groundwater protection, proper handling of recovered fluids, minimizing the use of freshwater, and evaluating alternatives to fresh water use including saline water sources and recycling.
When used to produce electricity, natural gas uses significantly less water than all other thermal power generation options, including coal, nuclear, geothermal and solar trough. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, looking at fuel production and power generation, natural gas-fired power plants use about 200 gallons of water per megawatt hour of electricity produced – about 60 percent less than coal and 75 percent less than nuclear.
The supply of abundant electricity and other energy uses is heavily dependent on an adequate water supply, just as energy generation and production play a critical role in the availability and quality of water.
Freshwater is an essential resource for communities, businesses and ecosystems. Global population growth will increase demand for freshwater and all users – domestic, agriculture, commercial and industry – will need to effectively manage limited supplies to meet growing demands.
We are committed to the development of water management practices that conserve and protect freshwater resources and enhance the efficiency of water utilization at our facilities. We continually measure and assess our use of freshwater to better manage our consumption and strive to reduce the potential environmental impact associated with our water use.
Where applicable, we evaluate recycling and reuse of water associated with our operations. As part of the effort to reduce the need for freshwater, we:
- Pursue opportunities to conserve freshwater through alternative approaches to freshwater use and fund research aimed at reducing freshwater consumption. This work includes a pilot project to reclaim flow-back and produced water through reverse osmosis in some of our business units.
- Seek to employ economically and operationally feasible alternatives to freshwater.
- Assess, measure and monitor our freshwater usage.
- Work collaboratively with government agencies to identify and permit appropriate water sources for well operations.
Discover more about our approach to protecting groundwater and surface water, here.