One man’s vision turned into a major produced water conference

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Several hundred people flocked to the Midland Horseshoe last month to examine the myriad issues surrounding the water and energy industry’s use of the resource.

The Permian Basin Water in Energy conference draws speakers and attendees from industry, academia and government, but it’s the brainchild of a man who was surprised to realize his grandchildren didn’t might not have access to fresh water if they continued to live in Midland.

“I was at a Chamber of Commerce meeting in 2017 and some of the major producers were talking about drilling 25,000 wells over the next five years,” recalls Jim Woodcock, who chaired the conference. “With this number of wells and all the water used to drill and complete them, and on top of that all the agricultural use. It all comes from the same aquifer.

Woodcock decided that the matter needed to be looked into closely. As a member of the University of Texas Permian Basin Board of Trustees and a member of the UTPB Business Advisory Council, he raised the issue. After some consideration, it was decided to launch the annual Permian Basin Water and Energy Conference.


“We found that a lot of people are eager to discuss the water situation,” he said.

When the first was scheduled for 2018, he said organizers expected 150 people to register and hoped 100 would actually show up. Shortly after the announcement of the conference, 450 community members registered to attend.

After taking a break last year due to the pandemic, organizers have reduced the conference from three days to two.

“I think it’s more about talking about the real issues facing the industry,” Woodcock observed. He said he saw the conference grow to include presentations on reuse and recycling technology, ways to use produced water for beneficial purposes outside of the oil industry, as well as seismicity and lines. fault.

“Things have happened that we never thought of, like flooding of carbon dioxide meeting flooding of water,” Woodcock said. “We discussed it; it looks like it will be a problem down the road.

He said he was delighted that the John Ben Shepperd Institute of Leadership at UTPB is overseeing the conference. He is proud that the conference generated over $1 million in economic impact and provided scholarships to UTPB.

Initially interested in geology, Woodcock switched to economics during his freshman year at Western Kentucky University. After graduating in 1964, he went to work for Xerox Corporation, serving in various positions, including Global Training Manager for the Office Products Division. He left Xerox in 1979 to buy Hy-Bon Engineering, a compressor engineering and manufacturing company which was purchased by Cimmaron Energy in 2019.

When he bought the business, Woodcock said Hy-Bon was primarily focused on the domestic market. It has expanded into international markets, doing business in Libya, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the Middle East as well as South America.

He detailed how his early interest in capturing gas that would otherwise be vented or flared benefited Libya. During his time working with the nation, it was the richest country in Africa, producing over 3 million barrels of oil per day. But it would burn 40 million cubic feet of natural gas, he said, because there were nearly 700 miles from the oil fields in Benghazi on the coast. While installing the Hy-Bon equipment, he said several thousand barrels of natural gas liquids were captured for sale.

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