California Senate approves bill requiring oil industry to detail water use

By Rory Carroll SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – The California state Senate on Thursday unanimously approved a bill requiring oil companies to report how much water they use in their drilling operations and the water’s source, a move that comes amid a severe statewide drought. Oil well operators used more than 80 billion gallons of water in California last year in “enhanced” oil recovery techniques such as steam injection and water flooding, which help bring heavier, thicker crude to the surface. Water also comes to the surface during oil drilling, but it is unclear how much of that “produced water” is reused by the oil companies for new production because there are currently no reporting requirements, something the bill seeks to address. “The public has the right to know about the oil industry’s use of limited fresh water supplies,” said Senator Fran Pavley, the bill’s author.

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