Huge volumes of dirty water produced by U.S. shale firms are driving up investment in water-handling specialists, as cash-conscious oil and gas companies try to trim costs. For every barrel of crude, drillers generate up to six barrels of brackish water containing chemicals used to release oil and gas from shale rock. The water is trucked or piped to disposal wells, or recycled. Transporting and disposing of water is costly for energy producers who are cash-strapped after more than two years of slumping oil prices, and some are opting to sell pipelines and wells to wastewater companies and then pay them to manage water. Water-handling companies benefit from economies of scale, but convincing energy CEOs to release water operations that they traditionally managed in-house is challenging, as new players build up their expertise. In the biggest deal this year, water-handling firm Select Energy Services agreed to […]