New Mexico Oil Conservation Commission Passes Rules that Take Strain off of Freshwater Supplies, Reduce Risk of Contamination

Effective March 31, 2015, the New Mexico Oil Conservation Commission (“Commission”) passed a new rule, 19.15.34 New Mexico Administrative Code (“NMAC”), which allows drillers to reuse produced water. The New Mexico Oil and Gas Association applied to the Commission, for an order to replace and update 19.15.34 passed in 2008 as well as to update the definition of “produced water” under Case 15239.

Through Case 15239, the Commission updated 19.15.34 NMAC and passed another rule, 19.15.2 NMAC, which redefines the definition of “produced water.” Previously, produced water was defined as water produced during the production of oil or gas that was collected at storage, processing, or transportation facilities. Now, with the new ruling, produced water is defined as “water that is an incidental byproduct from drilling for or the production of oil and gas.”

The scope of 19.15.23 NMAC covers the “transportation, disposal, recycling, re-use [and] direct surface or subsurface disposition” of produced water during construction, maintenance, electricity generation, drilling fluid or liquid oil field waste transportation as well as other industrial processes.

According to the Commission, the update rule pushes for the “recycling, re-use [and] disposition of produced water” while preventing fresh water contamination and providing guidelines for the transportation and disposition of “produced water, drilling fluids and other liquid oil field waste.”


Written by Stratecon Staff