Understanding and prioritizing water management is key for exploration-and-production operators, not only in terms of reducing overall cost and capital expenditures but also as a means of mitigating operational risk, complying with changing regulatory requirements, and addressing environmental concerns.
Water-management decisions within shale oil and gas production fall into three primary categories: water acquisition, water usage within hydraulic-fracturing operations, and the disposal of produced and flowback waters from drilling and production. Shale-fracturing flowback refers to the portion of injected hydraulic-fracturing fluids that returns to the surface before and during initial production. The large quantities of flowback and formation water generated during the fracturing process must be treated before recycling, beneficial reuse, or disposal. Typically, 10–20% returns within 7–14 days, with a rapid decline in quality and quantity. Shale produced water typically refers to water produced during the production phase of the shale wells in the longer term and has significantly lower flow rates and more-consistent quality than flowback water. The characteristics of produced and flowback water vary, but both types of water must be treated properly and disposed of correctly or recycled.
Numerous technologies are available today to enable complete or tailored removal of ionic, organic, and particulate contaminants from source waters for injection or produced waters for discharge.
From fine-particle filtration to remove suspended solids and selective-ion exchange for boron removal to polymeric adsorbents for organic-compound removal, numerous water-management solutions are available to ensure that flowback water and produced water are treated properly for recycling, reuse, or disposal.
The papers featured in this month deal with water management in south Argentina, a salt-tolerant friction reducer, and a novel water-shutoff system for carbonates. I hope you enjoy reading the selected papers.
This Month's Technical Papers
Recommended Additional Reading
IPTC 18936 Integrated-Water-Management Challenges by H. Al-Shammari, Kuwait Oil Company, et al.
SPE 183340 Innovative Approach To Treat Produced Water for Reuse in Saudi Aramco Reservoirs Pressure Maintenance by Mohamed Ahmed Soliman, Saudi Aramco, et al.
SPE 183743 Maintaining Injectivity of Disposal Wells: From Water Quality to Formation Permeability by Ali A. Al-Taq, Saudi Aramco, et al.
SPE 184520 On-Demand Water Control: Molecular Host/Guest Interaction for In-Situ Modification of Formation-Fluid Permeability by Antonio Recio III, Halliburton, et al.
Syed A. Ali, SPE, Consultant
01 December 2017
Study Finds Fort Worth Basin Wastewater Injection Increases Fault-Slip Potential
Researchers mapped 251 faults in the North Texas home of the Barnett Shale, the birthplace of the shale revolution, finding that wastewater injection there “significantly increases the likelihood for faults to slip.”
Study Investigates Formation Damage Induced by Water Reinjection in Unconsolidated Sands
This paper describes a coreflooding program performed with sandpacks at different permeabilities, water qualities, and injection conditions.
Produced water has been an albatross around the neck of operators for a long time. Efforts to solve its challenges have been extensive and continue to evolve. These efforts can have a strong effect on the profitability of an operation.
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