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The Sacrifice Zone

Folks don't realize how much produced water had been stuffed into the Permian Basin since 1922 and since the HZ tight oil party got kicked off in 2014, the volume of water is staggering. This produced water getting crammed into the Permian is causing earthquakes of significant intensity, a new one of 3.9 just a few days ago in a previously inactive area of Loving County, Texas, and is actually causing the surface to bubble and sink. I am rattled by this new image, above, recently published by the Wall Street Journal; I know there was subsidence occuring but I guess I did not know the surface was actually heaving.


From the same WSJ article, left, is a SWD well map and volume of produced water intensity map in the Delaware Basin. That cluster of injection wells and deep blue for produced water injection volumes along the Texas, New Mexio State line, is because New Mexico does not like earthquakes too much, Texas doesn't seem to mind them (Austin and the stupid Texas Railroad Commission is 500 miles away), so Texas lets New Mexico send its produced water to us for injection. The little dot is the newest 3.9 in Loving County, below.

If you are from Midland, and Odessa, or Pecos, or wherever out there, and feel these earthquakes its not a big deal because everybody out there is working in the tight oil business and when the Permian Basin breaks in half along Interstate 20, all most people will care about is which side of the highway you end up on so you can get to your job the next day. If, or rather when, it starts bubbling up out of manholes in downtown Midland it might worry people a little, but then again I am not so sure.

Below, Delaware earthquakes generally happen out west, this new one east in Loving County is alarming.

Produced water everywhere.

Don't forget, please, even if none of this upsets you...we're doing all this, and numerous other stupid things in the sacrifice zone, not for US energy security, but for US crude oil exports to foreign countries.

I love West Texas, admire my many friends who work their assess off in the shale biz out there, but damn if I understand their commitment to draining Texas dry as fast as possible. For the sake of a job they all appear intent on destroying their careers.

Its a race to the bottom, from my perspective, which depletes first...oil, usable groundwater, air quality or stable footing in which to stand?

Ask ChatGPT, or whatever it is, about produced water in the Permian Basin and here is what you get.

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