Freshwater Neutral: Managing Water Use and Giving Back to the Environment


Lieu : Veolia Le « V » Rue Madeleine Vionnet – 93300 Aubervilliers

Organisateur : SPE France

Dans le cadre du partenariat entre la SPE France et EVOLEN, EVOLEN a le plaisir de vous inviter à la conférence organisée par la SPE France

Jeudi 11 octobre 2018 à 16h30

Conférencier : Karen Olson - SPE Distinguished Lecturer


Managing water use and giving back to the environment including highlighting challenges, lessons, and best practices encountered when companies implement efforts to become better stewards of freshwater resources. Specific case studies related to Southwestern Energy’s “Freshwater Neutral” initiative, achieved in 2016 within all operating divisions will be reviewed.

A small multi-discipline team evaluated all elements within the operational water life cycle, identifying cost-competitive ways to optimize the company’s freshwater usage. Key components were:

  • commitment from company leadership and support across all operations;
  • setting achievable, operational goals;
  • accounting for all water used;
  • applying new completion designs and technologies;
  • increasing the use of alternative, non-fresh water, and
  • supporting research in groundwater protection and water treatment technologies.

This reduced freshwater requirements by up to 30% in some operating areas and saved the operator over $20 million US dollars. Another component was required in order for companies to completely offset the need for their remaining freshwater use, the importance of investing in conservation projects to improve freshwater resources within basins where operations are occurring.

Achieving a freshwater neutral status requires improvements in everyday work practices and a change in the mindset of water management.  The practices implemented will allow for the use of alternative water sources whenever economically and operationally feasible, and the conservation projects have added value to local communities.


Karen O lson Director of Technologies for Southwestern Energy Company (SWN), served as Director of the Strategic Solutions Team which was accountable for leading SWN’s Freshwater Neutral initiative. Other positions at SWN include Corporate Completion Engineering Chief.  Olson has been a Completion/Reservoir Engineer over 30 years with expertise in the design/modeling and operational execution of hydraulic fracturing.  At BP, a Completion Team Leader in GOM Deep Water, and as the Stimulation Team Leader in the North Sea, and worked onshore US, offshore US and in the North Sea for Mobil.

Active with SPE for more than 30 years, she was a Guest Editor for the Deepwater and Hydraulic Fracturing section of the JPT (Journal of Petroleum Technology), authored 15 papers, and provided presentations at SPE events In 2009, she was awarded the SPE Gulf Coast Section Region Production and Operations Award.  She was the 2014-16 Chair for the SPE Hydraulic Fracturing Conference, served on the executive committee for the 2015 ATCE and was honored as a Distinguished Member of SPE.

Olson holds a BS degree in Petroleum Engineering from LSU and a MS degree in Petroleum Engineering from Texas A&M.  She currently serves on the Industry Board for the Petroleum Engineering Department at Texas A&M.

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