Playbooks Supplements

Water Management Techbook 2017

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26 | May 2017 | WATER MANAGEMENT: TECHNOLOGY I n California's oil fields operators produce about 15 bbl of water for every barrel of oil. Disposing of that produced water became even tougher on Dec. 31, 2016, when state regulators shut down 30 active injection wells in the Central Valley. The California Division of Oil, Gas and Geo- thermal Resources ordered the companies to stop injecting oily produced water into 10 aqui- fers in the valley. None of the aquifers are used for drinking water, but environmentalists said with new technology to clean up the brackish water those aquifers could provide drinking water in the future. There was no evidence that any freshwater aquifers in the Central Valley were contaminated. After a 5.8 earthquake occurred in the Pawnee, Okla., area on Sept. 3, 2016, the Oklahoma Corpo- ration Commission's Oil and Gas Division took action. The agency shut down 32 injection wells in the 1,116-sq-mile area of interest. There were 67 injection wells in the area of interest with 48 Arbuckle disposal wells under the Oil and Gas Divi - sion jurisdiction and 19 under the auspices of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Of the 32 wells that ceased operations, 27 were under state jurisdiction and five under EPA jurisdic- tion. Following another earthquake in the Cushing area in November 2016, another seven injection wells were shut in. Oilfield water management is coming under stricter control. Those regulations are only likely to get more stringent as industrial, commercial, agricul- tural and residential users vie for limited resources. Stressed water resources When hydraulic fracturing was at its peak, recy- cling of produced water for fracturing fluid was a key water management option because freshwater resources started to become stressed by all the oil activity, said Mark Patton, vice president of sales and marketing for Hydrozonix. "When oil prices dropped and completion activity declined, the water sources were no longer stressed. People had spent time and effort in developing brack- ish water sources so there would be less reliance or no reliance on freshwater," he said. With brackish water resources becoming more plentiful, that moved produced water back into a traditional disposal mode in injection wells. In some areas like Oklahoma that stressed the resources and, when combined with reduced injection well capacity due to induced seismicity, caused spikes and increases in produced water and disposal costs, Patton said. It is difficult to commit more injection capacity in areas with induced seismicity "because regulations are moving in the opposite direction trying to reduce the number of injection wells. That means they have Both old and new technologies are being used for water management as operators seek environmentally friendly ways to reuse produced water. Water Treatment Activity Increases as Operators Seek Injection Alternatives By Scott Weeden Contributing Editor

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