Case Studies in Produced Water Treatment
Sometimes a number makes you really think twice, and a paper presented at the 2018 SPE ATCE included a number that did just that to me. The second sentence of the abstract for this paper stated “… nearly 100 billion barrels of produced water … is being generated every year from oilfield operations”. One hundred billion barrels: that is roughly three times the volume of oil produced in 2018, or a volume that would fill some 6.4 million Olympic-size swimming pools, or about 13 barrels (550 gallons) of water for every person on Earth (SPE 191749).
However you look at it, it is a lot of water and that volume is only increasing. In that same sentence the authors characterized the produced water by stating it often has total dissolved solids (TDS) higher than seawater.
And with that, you can probably guess the topic for this selection of papers: water treatment.
I chose three papers that were presented at the 2018 SPE ATCE. One addresses separation in general, not just the separation of produced water, and it describes technology that will dramatically reduce the footprint of separator trains as well as the residence time for fluid processing. In other words, “technology that will improve the sustainability of oilfield operations by meeting regulatory goals for water disposal or possibly reuse”.
Another deals with water treatment processes by providing a guide to assess the required fit-for-purpose water treatment in a given shale field.
Finally, a process to mitigate volatile organic compound emissions is described with a focus on a wastewater sump.
All in all, these are interesting papers that cover the water treatment process from different angles, and I hope that you will take the time to read them. The reason is simple: If you are involved with facilities, and I may presume that the readers of this web magazine fall in that category, you have to deal with produced water. There are just no two ways around it, and the content of these papers will help you in dealing with this task.
Technical Paper Synopses
Water Desalination Applications in Shale-Gas and Polymer EOR Produced Waters
Oil and gas extraction using water has opened up new hydrocarbon resources. However they can produce four times more salty water byproduct than oil. Desalination in shale gas and polymer-flood EOR remain niche markets for lowering cost and improving production.
Goodnight Midstream Lands Big Investment To Expand Water Operations
After a planned acquisition of Goodnight fell through, private equity firm Tailwater Capital is boosting its total investment in the water midstream company to more than $500 million. Goodnight recently signed five long-term contracts with producers in the Delaware Basin and the Bakken.
Bandwidth of Nanotechnology in the Oil Field Widens
Nanotechnology has great potential to reduce cost, increase production, and even improve the sustainability of E&P operations. But, where do we stand in terms of potential vs. reality? And, is the industry ready and willing to use the technology?
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