Water sourcing and disposal

East Division - Pennsylvania

Freshwater use is strictly regulated by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PaDEP) statewide, and also by the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) in certain parts of Seneca's operations area. Withdrawal quantities are set by these agencies to protect resources, and Seneca Resources follows and meets all regulatory expectations.

Installation of Seneca's water lines
Seneca follows a strict "Zero Surface Discharge" policy and works diligently to treat, recycle and reuse all flowback and produced water. Seneca is a net recycler of produced fluids, recycling more fluid than we produce. Since August 2015, Seneca has recycled 100% of our own produced fluid and has also processed and utilized produced fluid from third parties that on a net basis account for Seneca recycling 50% more fluid than we produce. However, the company does support responsible disposal technologies when necessary, such as underground injection. The greater use of recycled fluid per well presents an encouraging industry trend that Seneca Resources is glad to be leading.

Seneca Resources' East Division has several innovative policies aimed at minimizing the impact of water sourcing. Both recycled and fresh water are part of the mixture used for drilling and hydraulic fracturing.

  • Average Percent Blend - Recycled (*includes SRC produced water and 3rd party operator produced water)
    2014 - 20%
    2015 - 35%
    2016 - 75% (estimated)
  • Fresh water
    2014 - 70%
    2015 - 65%
    2016 - 25% (estimated)
  • Non-potable coal mine drainage**
    2014 - 10%
Seneca's centralized water facility, located in Clermont, Pa., handles water sourcing, recycling and transportation logistics for Seneca's drilling operations in the WDA.
** With Seneca's operations focused on the WDA, coal mine drainage has not been a geographically feasible option in 2015 and 2016. The company plans to return to sourcing water from non-potable coal mine drainage, when operations resume in the EDA.

Seneca Resources' condenser unit with evaporative technology located in the Eastern Development Area (EDA).
In an effort to reduce costs and the environmental footprint of its Western Development Area (WDA) drilling program, Seneca started its own water logistics company, Highland Field Services, LLC, to manage the handling of a substantial portion of fluids used in its operations. Located in McKean County, Pa., the company provides unique water resource and recycling solutions to upstream and midstream operators by creating incremental value from traditional waste streams. Having invested $20 million in infrastructure - including a centralized storage facility, a treatment plant and a pipeline delivery network - Seneca has significantly reduced the amount of freshwater it uses in drilling operations. Moving forward, Seneca has a target that fresh water will account for no more than 50 percent of fluids used in well completions. Highland Field Services is a DEP permitted waste management facility. Since August 2015, Highland has handled more produced fluid than any similarly permitted facility in the State. Highland Field Services' pipeline delivery network reduces the potential impact of water hauling for Seneca, by piping water from its centralized storage facilities directly to Seneca's well pads. In 2016, more than 90% of our freshwater use has been transported by our water pipeline system, which eliminated an estimated 70,000 truck trips, significantly reducing truck emissions and traffic.

Additionally, Seneca uses a state-of-the-art evaporative technology at a centrally located unit in its Pennsylvania Eastern Development Area (EDA) to ensure no liquid is discharged at the surface. This technology, which utilizes waste exhaust heat from a compressor station, removes all liquids from the production stream. The resulting products are a non-hazardous solidified salt material and clean water vapor emissions.

West Division - California

Sespe Oil field, Ventura County: In its drilling and completion operations, Seneca uses a combination of produced water from the Sespe oil reservoir and groundwater from two water source wells located within the Sespe field. In its natural state, groundwater at Sespe is less than 10,000 ppm Total Dissolved Solids (TDS); however, other naturally occurring constituents in the water render it "not appropriate for human consumption or agricultural purposes," per the EPA guidelines. The processing of produced water at Sespe is a closed loop system. All produced water not recycled in its operations is treated at a central treating facility in the field and re-injected into approved disposal zones via California Department of Conservation- Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources regulated disposal wells.

Kern, Fresno and San Joaquin counties: Due to fresh water shortages in the Bakersfield area, Seneca Resources decided to install a produced water system at its North Lost Hills, South Midway-Sunset and North Midway- Sunset properties to obtain the 60,000 barrels per day (bpd) of soft water needed for effective heavy oil recovery. This system allows beneficial use of produced water to reduce and avoid purchases from the California aqueduct or local area farmers. In its South Lost Hills Field fracing operations, Seneca uses a combination of produced water from the Monterey oil reservoir and fresh water purchased from the Belridge Water District.