In the Book of Genesis, God created water on the second day. It was clean and simple then.
A whole lot of years later, Oil Man created produced water and it’s been really complicated—and pretty contaminated—since then.
In the early days of using produced water to frac wells, dilution was the solution to the cost and complexity of removing difficult contaminants. But freshwater scarcity and increasing frac water demand are driving operators to use higher percentages of produced water, and problems can no longer be diluted away.
As operators start to blend more than 20 to 40 percent produced water with fresh water for use as a frac fluid, iron, bacteria, and other problem-causers must be reduced, and that involves a more capable treatment process than simple dilution.
Orion Water Solutions’ Warren Sumner lists some of the specific things to be aware of when rolling out a produced water treatment program.
- Produced water chemistry changes a lot over the first few days of production. Frac fluids, frac sand and other injected chemicals start off in high concentrations, then begin to thin out. The first couple of wellbores of water are not typical and are better disposed of than treated.
- Water chemistry in a gathering line can fluctuate significantly when newer wells come online. These changes must be monitored continuously to adjust the treatment and meet specifications before the water is sent downhole. Because no two wells or systems are alike, real-time analytics are important for success.
- The higher the concentration of produced water to fresh water, the more critical your treatment system becomes. In some parts of the Midland and Delaware Basins, iron ranges from 100 to 200 parts per million, which is 10 to 20 times what most frac packages can tolerate. A high-performance system like Dissolved Air Floatation (DAF) can take that contaminated water and make it useful as a frac fluid without any dilution. Best of all, treatment usually costs less than what operators are paying for fresh water, and every barrel re-used is a barrel that does not have to go down a disposal well.
Orion Water Solutions has the expertise and tools to get you the water quality you need, no matter what components—bacteria, iron, suspended solids, H2S, sulfates, or anything else—are in the incoming water.
Just a little patience can turn your produced water into a useful and economical frac fluid in any field or formation.
Call us today at (432) 219-8100.