In 2018, the United States crude oil production continues to climb. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, production in the Permian Basin accounts for nearly 30 percent of the total U.S. production. Much of that is due to the exploration of resources within the Delaware Basin, a prolific shale formation within the Permian Basin. Production in the Delaware is requiring increased innovation to responsibly provide water for the industry.

Winkler Services controls the water rights under approximately 30,000 acres of the Roark Ranch and adjacent properties, right in the heart of the Delaware Basin in Winkler County. After securing the water rights, Winkler Services priority was to preserve a significant amount of the fresh water in the Pecos Valley Aquifer for drinking water. Two years ago, the company completed a deal with the Midland County Fresh Water Supply District No. 1 to secure six sections of fresh water rights for Midland County. This water is set aside for municipal drinking water in the future to ensure fresh water will be available for the communities in Winkler and Midland Counties.

“It was imperative for Winkler Land and the Roark family, as landowners and members of the local community, to responsibly preserve drinking water for future generations.  With that goal in mind, it became apparent to us that no one understands the municipal water needs in the area better than Parkhill,” said David Lynch, Managing Partner of Winkler Services.

Parkhill, Smith & Cooper helped facilitate the District’s agreement with Winkler Services regarding the development of prime potable water on the northern part of the ranch.

With measures in place to protect the public drinking water, Winkler Services has focused on helping production soar in the Delaware Basin by providing water from the Roark Ranch to the energy companies producing in the area. The successful development of the high capacity wells has been accomplished and proven.  Over thirty miles of water conveyance infrastructure and a water station have been placed on the ranch.  Now Winkler Services is installing an 18-mile pipeline from the ranch to the west to serve companies with large-scale, reliable and consistent water for their oil and gas operations.

Ron Yair, General Partner of Winkler Services, stated: “With the positive experiences we have had previously with PSC, as well as their vast experience with water transmission lines in West Texas, it was natural for us to ask them to help with putting our pipeline in place.”  PSC joined with Garney Construction to provide a turnkey, design-build project for this project.  “Adding Garney Construction as a partner was instrumental because of their reputation as the leading water pipeline contractor in the nation,” said Yair.

The integrated design and construction of the transmission system will include one high volume pump station, 95,000 feet of transmission piping, isolation valves, flow control valves, air/vacuum valves, blow-off assemblies and nine delivery risers.

“The risers provide the flexibility to serve five customers simultaneously along the pipeline, providing water for more than just a single entity,” says David Lynch, Managing Partner of Winkler Services.  “Most others, I think, have relatively simplistic systems.  But the fact that we are going to be able to serve, effectively, five high-volume customers at the same time through a sophisticated, engineered, low-pressure pipe is what makes it unique. Most of these lines are designed to just go point-to-point so that customers can fill pits. Our water delivery system is going to be much more dynamic.”

From the nine risers, Winkler Services will be able to run flow lines up to seven miles from the transmission main. With temporary lines, the system could deliver water directly to drilling sites located across more than 200,000 acres in the Delaware. The addition of a second phase to the project could provide an additional 14 or 15 miles of transmission line to the south from which more risers would provide water delivery points. Lynch said Winkler Services is fortunate to have a great capital partner committed to building out the infrastructure needed to serve this area as demand continues to increase.

With the amount of activity in the Delaware Basin, the need for water is immediate and robust. Trucking water is expensive and adds to the amount of travel on roadways that are already experiencing higher traffic volumes than ever before. Being able to move this volume of water through the 18-mile pipeline has the potential of reducing over 22,000 miles of truck traffic per day in the area. Therefore, it became essential to complete the pipeline as quickly as possible using the turnkey, design-build process.

“Teaming with PSC and Winkler Services to build this project under a Design-Build platform has fast-tracked and overlapped the phases of the project which will ultimately allow us to have water flowing to customers in six months from start to finish,” said John Sedbrook, Permian Basin Manager of Garney Construction. “The Design-Build process integrates the field knowledge that Garney holds with the design expertise of PSC and will deliver a cost-effective, engineered water delivery system in the shortest period of time possible.”

Adding to the unique and innovative design of this water transmission line is the use of PVC pipe rather than the HDPE pipe traditionally used in the oilfield. The 24-inch PVC pipe allows the system to deliver water at a maximum flow rate of 250,000 barrels per day.

“PVC is considered a longer-lasting material than HDPE, more appropriate for a non-temporary pipeline. PVC was also determined to be the most efficient piping product due to its superior flow characteristics. An HDPE pipe requires two and half times thicker walls than a PVC pipe to get the same pressure rating,” said PSC’s project engineer Ryan Kennerly, PE. “The increased flow in the PVC pipe permitted a reduction in the nominal pipe diameter compared to an equivalent HDPE product.  This allowed for less expensive easement procurement and reduced ongoing operational costs by limiting the power consumption of the pump station.”

“This innovative system is designed to provide flexible delivery of water to meet the ever-changing demands of the oil and gas industry.  Teaming with Garney to install the system provided an innovative,  comprehensive, reliable, engineered system in a timely manner,” said Jay Edwards, an engineer and Chief Operating Officer for PSC. “We’ve appreciated working with Winkler Services first to preserve drinking water for our communities and now to develop this comprehensive solution to efficiently and safely deliver water to the oilfield.”

“It’s a great project for us, for Parkhill, for Garney and everyone in the Permian Basin,” Lynch said. “We’re excited to be working with a designer and construction firm that understands the needs and large-scale production of this type of infrastructure.  For the Winkler Companies, this is just the beginning.”