New Mexico biofuels project may get boost after water change

April 14, 2015 GMT

HOBBS, N.M. (AP) — A planned biofuels project near Jal may get a boost from a new oil and gas rule approved by the New Mexico Oil Conservation Commission.

The change adopted by the state panel last month allows companies to reuse water in drilling operations, the Hobbs News-Sun reports (http://goo.gl/akwF4A ). The rule could lead to energy producers using 100 percent recycled water instead of continuing to dip in to fresh water aquifers.

Other oil producing states such as Oklahoma and Texas have long had similar rules allowing for oilfield wastewater reuse.

“These common-sense guidelines will reduce fresh water consumption by the industry which makes sense both environmentally and economically,” said Secretary David Martin, head of New Mexico’s Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department.

Eldorado Biofuels founder Paul Laur says with the new rule in place his project can offer oil companies a cost-effective method of cleaning water for reuse that will be cheaper than buying fresh water.

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“The price of oil has cooled everyone’s jets, but in some ways it is good because companies have to watch every penny,” Laur said. “If we can make it cheaper to reuse produced water we should be able to secure some contracts.”

The produced water comes out clean enough to be reused in the oilfield or potash mining projects.

Laur said he is hopeful he will have contracts inked within the next few months and the biofuel facility west of Jal will soon be churning out millions of gallons of recycled water.

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Information from: Hobbs News-Sun, http://www.hobbsnews.com