“Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.”
—Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
Produced water has been an albatross around the neck of operators for a long time. It gets in the way of production by displacing the target oil, and it is filthy, requiring great expense to treat for reuse or disposal. Efforts to solve these challenges have been extensive and continue to evolve. These efforts can have a strong effect on the profitability of an operation.
The authors of paper SPE 187624 claim that the amount of produced water could be in the region of 210 million B/D for every 75 million bbl of oil produced. “Many oil companies could almost be called water companies,” they write. Their paper presents efforts to increase oil production while disposing of produced water by using an inverted electrical submersible pump. These efforts resulted in the disposal of water through the same wellbore, reducing the expense of bringing it to the surface for treatment and of drilling disposal wells.
Disposing of the produced water is only one factor that limits the profitability of operations. Treating the water before reuse or disposal also takes a substantial bite out of profits. Paper SPE 190272 examines an economical effort to desalinate produced water with the use of an electrochemical system with a resilient membrane. The membrane’s durability means that pretreatment of the water can be minimal, saving costs. In instances where polymer flooding is used, the membrane allows the polymer to remain in the desalinated water so that it can be used again. The cost savings from polymer reuse can be significant.
Production facilities also suffer from the massive quantities of water produced. When produced water moves with the stream through a facility, it takes up precious space that could be used more profitably by oil. Paper SPE 187109 takes a look at one of the ways operators are looking to ease this bottlenecking problem. By partially processing the stream to remove water at the production manifold, more room is made for oil through transfer piping and in primary separation and floating storage facilities. The authors claim this has increased oil production by 80% and reduced the in-field transfer volume by 62%.
For more solutions to the persistent problems of produced water, please see the papers listed as recommended additional reading and find more in the OnePetro online library.
This Month's Technical Papers
Recommended Additional Reading
SPE 187119 Employing Effective Water Treatment in West Texas To Mitigate Surface-Equipment Failures by Sarkis Kakadjian, Keane Group, et al.
SPE 190129 Case Studies of an Effective Methodology To Collect Formation Water To Meet Regulatory Requirements for Formation-Water Sampling by V.H. Tran, Chevron, et al.
SPE 188400 Successful Field Application of Bulk Water Removal Debottlenecks Declining Songkhla Marginal Offshore Fields, Extending Economic Life by Manuel De La Sota, CEPSA
Adam Wilson, Special Publications Editor
01 December 2018
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.
Inverted-ESP Completion Boosts Oil Rate While Disposing of Produced Water
This paper aims to provide an introduction to the early management of downhole produced water in strong waterdrive reservoirs using inverted electrical-submersible-pump (ESP) technology.
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