Petro Tech: PRODUCED WATER MANAGEMENT
Options for Managing Produced Water and Frac Flowback of Varying Water Quality in North American Shale Plays
One of the major issues associated with development of natural gas fields in North America is management of the produced water and frac flowback. Countless strategies exist and new equipment vendors seem to materialize daily promising that theirs is the solution to all of the producer’s water problems. Since water qualities vary significantly from one shale play to the next and other factors including climate, topography, geology, availability of power, chemicals, and landfills, operational limitations, environmental regulations and various other issues, all affect the optimal solution, one must step back and take a comprehensive and long term view in order to plan and engineer the proper water management system. The suite of alternatives includes but is not limited to evaluating sourcing issues with pump stations/pipelines or trucking surface/ground water and simple filtration; reuse of flowback and produced waters with or without treatment; treatment for discharge via ion exchange, reverse osmosis, evaporation, or distillation; and disposal via evaporation ponds or injection. This briefing will analyze the majority of the techniques available for managing produced waters and discuss some the prevalent strategies and how future regulations might impact the recommended water management strategy.
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