News Apr 12, 2021

A Fresh Solution to Reliable Water: City of Midland, Texas, Pioneer Natural Resources and Jacobs Public-Private Partnership

Public-Private Partnership results in a progressive design-build solution that preserves the city’s water supply by reducing reliance on freshwater resources.

Midland Texas water treatment plant aerial

As it turns out, sometimes oil and water do mix.

In Texas, where oil and gas is critical to the State, freshwater resources are equally important to protect and preserve and industries are finding new ways to meet water demands.  Pioneer Natural Resources is a leader in creating innovative, sustainable water supply solutions, including reclaimed water sources. Here’s how the City of Midland, Texas, and Pioneer Natural Resources LLC (Pioneer) jointly solved each other’s water resource challenges. ​

The City of Midland, Texas, is located in the Permian Basin where Pioneer operates. Focused on performing their oil and gas operations more sustainably, Pioneer reached out to the City of Midland about an innovative partnership to share the costs of a much-needed wastewater facility upgrade. The forward-thinking utility managers determined this private sector partnership would produce the win-win they were looking for and a symbiotic match was made – apparently oil and water do mix.  

As part of a novel partnership to make treated reclaimed water available for oilfield operations, Pioneer contracted with Jacobs to expand the City of Midland, Texas’, Water Pollution Control Plant. With this partnership, the City of Midland gets a state-of-the-art wastewater treatment plant; Pioneer has a long-term reliable water source for its operations; and nearby freshwater resources are being sustainably managed for future generations.

"Pioneer is dedicated to advancing water stewardship in the oil and gas industry, and our steadfast commitment to sustainability paired with operational excellence is paramount to the future of the company," said Pioneer EVP of Corporate Operations, Mark Berg. "Our agreement with Midland moves Pioneer toward its goals of significantly reducing the use of freshwater in our operations and creating a reliable, long-term source of water.”

Under the agreement, Pioneer partnered with Jacobs to provide approximately $134 million in upgrades to the plant, which would have otherwise been paid for through the City of Midland's utilities fund. In return, Pioneer purchases the City of Midland’s reclaimed wastewater at a discounted price. Once the plant upgrades are completed this spring, the water will be available for use in Pioneer's water distribution system in the Permian Basin. Using reclaimed water for this purpose significantly reduces Pioneer's need for freshwater and makes productive use of a non-potable resource at a lower overall water cost.

The City of Midland and Pioneer entered into this agreement in 2016 and Jacobs was selected to design and build the facility upgrades and deliver the design-build project in two phases:

  • Phase I: Design development and preconstruction services
  • Phase II: Construction and commissioning

As of March 2021, the project is substantially finished with final completion right around the corner. Safety performance has been excellent with over 500,000 labor hours worked without a single lost time incident for the project team.

This week, during the Design-Build Institute of America’s Annual Water/Wastewater Conference the project partners, Pioneer, Midland, and Jacobs will discuss how this effort was successfully completed detailing how a public-private partnership and design build solved two challenges for the City of Midland. Presenters include:

  • Laren Blevins, Project Manager, Pioneer Natural Resources
  • Alan Van Reet, Senior Operations Manager, Pioneer Water Management LLC​
  • Cory Moose, Assistant Utilities Director, City of Midland​ – Check out Cory’s interview on the project
  • Lamar Parker, Project Manager, Jacobs
  • Steve Patterson, Vice President & Director of Projects, Jacobs​