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Water Management Techbook 2018

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42 | April 2018 | WATER MANAGEMENT: BEST PRACTICES The major downside of disposal wells is "once water goes in, you lose that water forever. It won't be available for generations," Henthorne said. If the water is to be discharged into an exist- ing body of water, those regulations can vary as well. For instance, in Colorado the specifications for discharging water into rivers are different from discharging into a stream that primarily has snow- melt going into it. "It's a function of what the marine environ- ment can tolerate and other discharges into the rivers," Henthorne said. "The lucky operators have access to some of the bigger rivers that don't have as stringent requirements in most cases." Technology focus Georgie said it's crucial to consider why certain tech- nologies work in one region and not another. "The belief was, and a lot of people still think about it [this] way, was the technology used for the North Sea was only good for the North Sea and doesn't work in the Gulf of Mexico. This is rub- bish. The reasons some work in the North Sea and don't work in the Gulf of Mexico is because the way we develop things in the Gulf is slightly different than the North Sea, so those designs are not favor- able," Georgie said. In other words, the technology could be effective, but the lineup and configuration could be prob- lematic and limit the efficacy of the technology, he said. One example was the attempt to bring de-oiler hydrocyclones from the North Sea to the GoM. Many of the units failed to provide the desired results in the GoM. According to Georgie, the prob- lem was that pressures and temperatures were dif- ferent and therefore caused problems with the units. Keeping the treatment technologies affordable is critical, Henthorne said, and those technologies must be able to adapt to incoming water quality vari- ations. One of the technologies Water Standard rec- ommends for treatment is an alginate or a seaweed that flocculates contaminants such as suspended solids, oils and iron to remove them from the water. The biodegradable alginate is a natural ingredient that also is used in the food industry. "This alginate works to flocculate and easily remove the contaminants," Henthorne said. "It scrubs the water and collects the stuff and removes it. That's been a cornerstone of a lot of this treatment for reuse and recycle." Beyond that, Henthorne said Water Standard uses hardware in conjunction with the seaweed-based algi- nate to enhance the contaminant removal. "There are checks and balances in the system to allow us to adapt to the changing quality in the water," Henthorne said. "If one system is not work- ing as well as it can because a slug of oil has come into the system, the second unit would pick that up and remove it." Water Standard has developed a mobile water treatment system for fracturing operations, which can be deployed to multiple wellsite areas. Henthorne said using mobile water treatment designed to reuse or recycle pro- duced water or to safely discharge mitigates many challenges tradition- ally associated with transporting water to stationary facilities. Kern said Dow is actively looking at technologies that answer the oil industry's produced water challenges. When it comes to treatment for water intended for fracturing or other types of reuse, Kern said one of the first steps would be to remove any emulsified or soluble hydrocarbons in the water. Most produced water holds an estimated 1% to 3% of hydrocarbons. As such, at $50/bbl of oil, each barrel of pro- duced water could represent 50 cents to $1.50 of additional value for the operator. The mobile produced and flowback water treatment system is operating to treat water for reuse in fracturing operations and to meet stringent regulations for safe discharge into a nearby river. The system is designed to remove total suspended solids, benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene, oil, iron, manganese, H 2 S and ammonia. (Photo courtesy of Water Standard)

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