Water Management

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

Water-Management Experience in a Mature Basin in South Argentina

New Salt-Tolerant Friction-Reducer System Enables 100% Reuse of Produced Water

Breakthrough Polymer Water-Shutoff System Shows Promise for Carbonate Ghawar Field

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, is a consultant. Previously, he was a technical adviser with Schlumberger, and, before that, he was a Chevron Fellow with Chevron Energy Technology Company. Ali became an SPE Honorary Member in 2015, and he received the 2014 SPE DeGolyer Distinguished Service Medal, the 2012 SPE Distinguished Service Award, and the 2006 SPE Production and Operations Award. He served as an SPE Distinguished Lecturer in 2004–2005. Ali holds BS, MS, and PhD degrees. He served as executive editor of SPE Production & Operations and currently serves on several SPE committees, including the JPT Editorial Committee, the Completion Optimization and Technology Award Committee, the Well Operations Subcommittee, and the Completions Advisory Committee. Ali can be reached at

Water Management

Syed A. Ali, SPE, Consultant

01 December 2017

Volume: 69 | Issue: 12

No editorial available



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