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Sara Jerome

A company in Boston wants to be a kind of Expedia for water service, according to The Oklahoman, and Xconomy called the company an “eBay” for fracking water.

The company, called Sourcewater, is looking to facilitate the water needs of the oil and gas industry and in significant ways, it manages to circumvent traditional water delivery systems.

Founded last year, the company “is matching water suppliers with operators in the field and bringing a new network to the energy industry,” The Oklahoman reported. “Sourcewater matches companies who want to find water for hydraulic fracturing, as well as companies that want to reuse or recycle the water produced in energy extraction. Trucking, treatment, storage and disposal companies can all post their services on the website for producers to find in a local area.”

CEO and Founder Josh Adler said he was “shocked” when he found out there is not a streamlined marketplace for water serving this industry.

“For conventional oil and gas development, water needs were typically met by the local farmer or nearby water system. But hydraulic fracturing is an intensive, short-term user of water — often in remote, water-challenged areas. Adler said that puts additional pressure on operators to get water to well sites at the right time,” the report said.

Price is not the problem. Rather, delivery is the problem.


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“In oil and gas, they’re only using water for a couple of days,” Adler said, per the report. “Water is really cheap, but if you don’t have it on the day you need, the operation shuts down. So we think there’s an opportunity to match up buyers and sellers for the short-term delivery of water.”

“Our goal is to reduce the cost of water management for oil and gas producers,” he said. “The big cost is not the water itself, it’s the services around water, especially trucking. When oil was $100 a barrel, nobody worried much about those costs. They do now.”

Managing water for the energy industry is big business even when the oil market fluctuates. According to a recent report by Lux Research, “Despite a precipitous decline in hydraulic fracturing activity following the dramatic decline in global oil prices, the market for frac water management is still estimated to be worth $1.9 billion, not including water transportation and disposal,” the Oil & Gas Financial Journal reported, citing Lux’s research.

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