Management of produced water in oil and gas operations



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Texas A&M University


Produced water handling has been an issue of concern for oil and gas producers as it is one of the major factors that cause abandonment of the producing well. The development of effective produced water management strategies poses a big challenge to the oil and gas industry today. The conversion of produced water into irrigation or fresh water provides a cost effective tool to handle excessive amounts of the produced water. In this research we proposed on-site produced water treatment units configured to achieve maximum processing throughput. We studied various advanced separation techniques to remove oil and dissolved solids from the produced water. We selected adsorption as the oil removing technique and Reverse Osmosis (RO) as the dissolved solids removing technique as being the best for our purpose. We performed experiments to evaluate operating parameters for both adsorption and RO units to accomplish maximum removal of oil and dissolved solids from the produced water. We compared the best models fitting the experimental data for both the processes, then analyzed and simulated the performance of integrated produced water treatment which involves adsorption columns and RO units. The experimental results show that the adsorption columns remove more than 90% of the oil and RO units remove more than 95% of total dissolved solids from the produced water. The simulation results show that the proper integration and configuration of adsorption and RO units can provide up to 80% efficiency for a processing throughput of 6-8 gallons per minute of produced water. From an oil and gas producer?s viewpoint output from the produced water treatment system is a revenue generating source. The system is flexible and can be modified for the applications such as rangeland restoration, reservoir recharge and agricultural use.