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The North American water treatment equipment market has been forecast to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.7% over the next five years, increasing from a valuation of $825 million in 2012, to be worth a market value of $1.2 billion in 2017.
Produced water comprises approximately 98% of the total waste volume generated by the industry. Current global exploration and production (E&P) activities generate more than 115 billion bbl per year (bbl/y) of produced water.
For every barrel of oil, an average of three barrels of water is produced. In the U.S., the water to oil ratio (WOR) averages eight barrels of water to one of oil. On average, for every barrel of oil currently recovered, eight barrels of wastewater are also generated. During the next 15 years, the water to oil ratio is forecast to increase from 8:1 to 12:1. In the worst cases, the WOR reaches 50:1.
To dispose of produced water, energy companies pay from $3 per barrel to as much as $12 per barrel. With the need to manage such large water volumes, the oil and gas production industry has become as much about water as it is about energy.
In addition to large water volumes and high disposal costs, energy developers using traditional produced water practices are facing increased opposition from environmental activists, local and state governments, and the public.
These groups are concerned that the water is leaking from traditional containment pits and entering groundwater and surface water bodies. Historically, produced water has been contained temporarily in pits, and then either transported to treatment plants or evaporated.
Oil field produced water is expected to increase from $627 million in 2012 to $929 million in 2017, a CAGR of 8.2%. While gas field produced water is expected to increase from $198 million in 2012 to $267 million in 2017, a CAGR of 6.2%.
A number of water treatment technologies and equipment types are commercially available for use at oil or gas production sites. These processes can reduce the cost, inefficiency and risks associated with treatment pits and the transport of toxic water.
For more information on the North American water treatment equipment market, see the latest research: North American Water Treatment Equipment Market
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