|A well in Glacier County undergoes hydraulic fracturing. Sun Times photo by Darryl L. Flowers|
The Ecosphere-Blackfeet commitment will make available to operators a non-chemical approach for treating and reusing 100% of their flowback and produced waters on the reservation. Use of Ecosphere’s Ozonix technology will not only help preserve the Blackfeet Nation’s water resources, but also eliminate the need to truck wastewater to disposal sites off reservation, thereby improving the economics of shale oil and gas exploration on the reservation. This exclusive services agreement is part of a broad effort by the Blackfeet Nation to sustainably develop their heritage lands, bring jobs to tribal members and improve the economic well-being of the tribe.
“We chose to partner with Ecosphere and Hydrozonix after spending significant time and effort evaluating all available water treatment technologies in the market,” said Grinnell Day Chief, Oil and Gas Manager for the Blackfeet Tribe. “We have visited the frac sites where Ecosphere is replacing traditional chemicals with Ozonix for its customers and recycling 100% of their waters. By providing the oil and gas companies operating on our land with access to this environmentally sound and cost-effective technology, we are reinforcing our commitment to improving the quality of life for our people through economic development of our energy resources while also preserving our vital natural water resources for future generations.”
“Partnering with the Blackfeet Nation to assist the tribe in their commitment to sustainably develop their lands is totally in keeping with the Ecosphere mission to provide environmental wastewater treatment solutions across industries, nations and ecosystems. The Ozonix technology has been used by Ecosphere and our licensee, Hydrozonix LLC, to treat more than one billion gallons of water on approximately 500 oil and natural gas wells since 2008,” said Charles Vinick, Chairman and CEO of Ecosphere Technologies. “This is an important opportunity to work with the Tribe to provide jobs for their members and to help the tribe realize their development goals for profitable and environmentally responsible hydraulic fracturing operations.”
The Blackfeet reservation is located along the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains, bordered by Canada and Glacier National Park, between the mountains and the prairie. It is part of a sensitive and important ecosystem in northwestern Montana and is larger than the state of Delaware. The reservation stretches over 150 miles north to south and 100 miles east to west and is home to grizzly bears, black bears, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, lynx, elk, deer, bull trout, eight major lakes and approximately 175 miles of fishing streams.
The Blackfeet reservation sits on top of the prolific Bakken shale, a formation that has experienced a recent boom of activity in the Williston Basin (located in North Dakota and Eastern Montana). Several major oil and gas companies including Newfield Exploration, Rosetta Resources and Anschutz Exploration have all secured mineral rights from the Blackfeet Tribe and are actively drilling vertical and horizontal wells on the reservation to pursue the Southern Alberta Basin, which includes the Bakken, Three Forks, Nisku and Lodgepole formations. The Devonian-Mississippian Bakken Shale on the Blackfeet reservation is a widespread, organic-rich marine source rock that has been a known producer in the Williston Basin.
Robbie Cathey, CEO of Ecosphere Energy Services, stated, “We are excited and grateful to have the opportunity to work with the Blackfeet Nation and the oil and gas companies operating on tribal land. Ecosphere’s Ozonix process will allow operators to reuse their wastewaters and treat water in an environmentally friendly manner. It demonstrates everyone’s commitment to utilizing our natural resources and producing energy in a responsible way.”