Santos recognises water is a precious resource, especially given our long history of working in some of the driest parts of the world such as the Cooper Basin in Central Australia.
We have a sustainable approach to manage our water use and the production of water as part of our operations.
Water occurs naturally underground in association with oil and gas deposits and is brought to the surface as a by-product (referred to as produced water) of oil and gas production. The water is brought to the surface via our wells, where it is separated from our products.
We seek to identify opportunities for beneficial reuse of the produced water including using the water for stock, crop irrigation or aquifer recharge. We treat produced water prior to reuse when required to remove salts, suspended solids and hydrocarbons. Where reuse is not yet possible, we adopt safe and sustainable disposal methods in accordance with our Environment, Health and Safety Management System (EHSMS) water resources standards, legal requirements, licence conditions and project-specific management plans.
Our EHSMS water resources standards define requirements to sustainably manage water. We seek to understand the long-term viability of water resources in use, identify potential risks associated with use of water resources, develop management plans based on the water management hierarchy, and monitor water quantity and quality. The water management hierarchy identifies water management methods ranging from most to least preferable (avoid, reduce, reuse, recycle, treat and dispose).
The Santos Water Portal provides direct access to water monitoring results from our operations.
In addition, we publicly report our water withdrawal and use in our annual sustainability report.
BENEFICIAL WATER USE
In 2013, 1.6 million cubic metres of produced water were reused for activities beneficial for communities, farmers and the environment including for stock watering, irrigation and aquifer recharge.
In Queensland, we drip irrigate hundreds of hectares to produce high protein forage crops for use by local farmers.
RECYCLING DRILLING FLUID
In Queensland, the drilling fluid recycling project at Fairview helps to minimise the disposal of waste water and reduce consumption of surface water.