Each hydraulic fracturing job in western North Dakota uses four million gallons of water.
The water and a gel are forced down a hole to crack open rock so oil can move.
Oil companies have been doing research and experimenting with how to recycle some of that water.
North Dakota Director of Mineral Resources, Lynn Helms, says he was recently at a Statoil well site that was testing a new frac gel formula.
Their concoction uses 50% fresh water and 50% recycled water...
Helms says the chemicals worked as predicted.
"This is a huge leap forward. Up until this point we were recycling only 20% of the frac flow back water. This is going to move us to next year we should typically be recycling 50% of the frac water. And the goal would be to increase that to the 75-80% range," says Helms.
Helms says other states like Alabama that have scarce water supplies are very interested in the results from oil companies recycling water.