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Steam generation for the purposes of thermal recovery includes facilities to treat the water (produced water or fresh water), generate the steam, and transport it to the injection wells. A steamflood uses high-quality steam injected into an oil reservoir. The quality of steam is defined as the weight percent of steam in the vapor phase to the total weight of steam. The higher the steam quality, the more heat is carried by this steam. High-quality steam provides heat to reduce oil viscosity, which mobilizes and sweeps the crude to the producing wells.
Water management can significantly add to the cost and environmental footprint of oil production and innovations in water management can provide significant economic and environmental gains. New treatment technologies make recycling of water for hydraulic fracturing possible. Methods for recycling fracking water include anaerobic and aerobic biologic treatment; clarification; filtration; electrocoagulation; blending (directly diluting wastewater with freshwater); and evaporation. Generally, anaerobic treatments on wastewater are implemented on concentrated wastewater. Anaerobic sludge contains a variety of microorganisms that cooperate to convert organic material to biogas via hydrolysis and acidification.
While formation damage is typically a problem affecting the productivity of well, it can also pose problems for injection. Understanding the causes of this type of formation damage is important so that efforts to prevent it can be undertaken. This page discusses the types of formation damage that affect injection wells. In such projects, the cost of piping and pumping the water is determined primarily by reservoir depth and the source of the water. However, water treatment costs can vary substantially, depending on the water quality required.
Water disposal in the Permian Basin is likely to hit a new all-time high in the fourth quarter of 2020, exceeding 1.3 billion bbl for the period for the first time in history, potentially further expanding Texas' total water market which had already recovered close to its pre-COVID record in October, a Rystad Energy analysis projects. The water-disposal market is the last growing market of US land services. Behind the expected expansion is a combination of factors including a rapid recovery in activity, a steady clip of enhanced oil recovery (EOR) projects and base production structurally shifting to become more mature, which increases the water-to-oil ratio. The rapid recovery in the disposal market will position the region's dedicated midstream operators for better financial performance heading into 2021, with improved market sentiment as activity levels tick up. Before production curtailments started in March, Texas' underground injection possibly surpassed 30 million B/D.
Officials in New Mexico will no longer grant approvals for the use of fresh groundwater sourced from state lands in oil and gas operations. Announced this week by the New Mexico State Land Office, the order will primarily impact unconventional oil and gas producers that require several millions of gallons to drill and later hydraulically fracture each horizontal well. The State Land Office cited water scarcity as the primary driver behind the policy shift. Oil output in New Mexico has soared over the past 5 years, making it the third largest producer in the US. Most of the state's 3 million B/D come from the Delaware Basin, one-half of the prolific Permian Basin that extends eastward into Texas.
Solaris Water Midstream has begun operations at its newest large-scale water-reuse complex in New Mexico, the Eddy State Complex. The complex can supply 300,000 B/D of recycled produced water for operators in the northern Delaware Basin. Th complex adds to the company's ongoing recycling operations at its Lobo Reuse Complex in Eddy County and the Bronco Reuse Complex in Lea County. Two additional water-recycling centers are expected to be completed by December. When all five water-reuse complexes are operating, Solaris Water will have the capacity to recycle more than 900,000 B/D of produced water, with over 3 million bbl of adjacent storage capacity.
Salt water, produced water, waste water, oilfield brine--regardless of what you call it, large volumes have been coproduced with oil in the US for decades. But the volumes have surged in the past few years and doubled since 2009, along with widespread seismicity in some regions, most notably Oklahoma and, more recently, the Permian Basin. The increase in produced water and concerns about its effects have recently spawned a new business sector known as "the water midstream." An estimated $9 billion to $11 billion of private capital has been committed to the oilfield water midstream business to date, and a further $16 billion is projected to be required. The value proposition for this business is optimizing the treatment and disposal of produced water, currently at water/oil ratios of approximately 4:1 for unconventional wells and 13:1 for conventional, at scale.
In the Bakken-Three Forks play of the Williston Basin, many oil wells that once produced some water have become water wells that produce some oil, as average oil production has flatlined while water production continues to increase. A complex interplay of stepping out beyond the core to where water saturations are higher, upsizing completions, tighter spacing, and dealing with greater parent-child effects and potential changes in relative permeability is significantly increasing volumes of produced water. Similar situations have been occurring in other basins. This is a serious threat for the US unconventional oil and gas industry, for which produced water has become a $34-billion industry and exposes operators to numerous operational, environmental, and economic risks. Software developers are beginning to adapt advanced machine-learning (ML) methods that have proved successful in forecasting oil production and upgrading them with aspects of game theory to make quick and accurate work of understanding and predicting water production in unconventional plays.
With oil prices at a low level, budgetary pressures on the oil and gas industry have increased, and the water management sector is no exception. Total revenue in the US oilfield water management services market is expected to drop by 19% from USD 23.2 billion last year to USD 18.9 billion this year. In this new economic environment, efficient water management practices will become even more essential for companies looking to run successful hydraulic fracturing operations, a panel of experts said. In a webinar, "Water Management in a Down Market," held by the SPE Gulf Coast Section's Health, Safety, Security, Environment, and Social Responsibility Study Group, speakers discussed emerging water management trends in the oil and gas market. Advance planning can have a significant impact on a company's water management costs.
Shearing of production fluids creates tight oil/water emulsions, including small droplets of oil in water and small droplets of water in oil. Small droplets rise very slowly and are often not adequately separated in a given residence time. This can overwhelm downstream equipment unless additional steps are taken such as increasing chemical dosage, adding or increasing heat, or removal of the emulsion for separate treatment--all of which will increase operating and capital expenses. For our purposes, we consider only the removal of oil from water in a water treatment system. Removal of water from oil, as in oil dehydration, will be discussed elsewhere. The article is simply a review of basic droplet formation due to shearing from pipes, valves, and pumps. It is intended to remind engineers that the decisions made upstream can have a grave consequence on downstream separation equipment performance. The article focuses mostly on the sources of shear, the relative magnitude of shear, and the consequence on the oil droplet size. Details regarding oil droplet size distribution is outside the scope of this article. Instead, the focus is on just one parameter of the droplet diameter distribution, the maximum droplet diameter. Also, the effect of smaller oil droplets on water treatment equipment is not discussed in detail.