Playbooks Supplements

Water Management Techbook 2017

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16 | May 2017 | WATER MANAGEMENT: BEST PRACTICES A lthough it constitutes most of the total vol- ume of liquids produced by the oil industry worldwide, operators have traditionally ded- icated few resources to managing produced water. In the face of increased regulatory pressure and the extreme costs of produced water transportation, treatment and disposal, operators have been turn- ing to water experts and full-service water manage- ment companies to fill voids in their engineering staffs. The increase in consultants and services within the upstream industry is testimony to the fact that efficient water management is a critical and complex operator function that is better left to the experts. "Water treatment is as complicated as oil refin- ing," said Schlumberger produced water product manager, Dan Shannon. "Most operators focus on the oil side and their expertise on the water side can be limited. The whole idea is to involve the water treatment experts who know the right questions to ask in order to determine the best solution." Michael Dunkel, vice president, water for CH2M, an energy industry consulting firm, condenses rec- ommended workflow and best practices for onshore water management into five essential steps: • Assess the viability and risks to existing water sources and water disposal over the long term of five or more years, including the potential disruptions from drought, seismicity, regulations or other events; • Evaluate all other sources and disposal options, including adding infrastructure for reuse for company or multi-company operations and develop a cost matrix for all options while considering risks and stakeholder issues; • Develop an execution plan with options to lower source and disposal costs and risks. To increase operational flexibility, consider multiple water sourcing methods; • Design water storage and pipelines for the anticipated life of the play, which may be decades; and • To allow more efficient capacity use and to lower costs, consider sharing water infrastructure, sourcing and disposal infrastructure with other operators. Cleaning waste Formation liquids usually consist of hydrocarbons mixed with a significant fraction of water. The water fraction of this mixture usually increases over time and, without intervention, most forma- tions will eventually deliver much more water per day than oil. The composition of produced water is as varied as the formations from which they flow but typically contain inorganic and organic compounds and some residue of chemicals intro- duced into the reservoir by stimulation and other EOR operations. Operators need guidance on water management to ensure compliance and to cut costs. Leaving Produced Water Management to the Experts By Rick Von Flatern Contributing Editor

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