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Water treating facilities
Water sources are treated for disposal, injection as a liquid, or injection as steam with three types of facilities. Produced water is treated in offshore operations for overboard disposal or injection into a disposal well.
Multiple types and sources of water streams are encountered in oil and gas operations; the two primary ones are:
- produced water: the brine that comes from the oil reservoir with the produced fluids
- surface water: fresh (river or lake) and saline (seawater) sources
Water sources are treated for disposal, injection as a liquid, or injection as steam with three types of facilities. Produced water is treated in offshore operations for overboard disposal or injection into a disposal well, but when onshore, it is treated for:
- surface disposal
- liquid injection
- steam injection
In all instances, the produced water must be cleaned of dispersed and dissolved oil and solids to a level suitable for the following purposes:
Surface water is treated offshore for liquid injection and onshore for liquid- or steam-injection purposes. In all instances, the surface water must be cleaned of dispersed and dissolved solids to a level suitable for reservoir or steam-generation purposes.
In oil producing operations, it is often desirable to inject water or steam into the formation to improve oil recovery. Water injection for this purpose is called a waterflood; when properly implemented, it will maintain reservoir pressure and significantly improve the oil recovery vs. primary production. Steam injection, known as a steamflood, will reduce the viscosity of oil and further enhance the oil recovery.
In offshore areas, governing regulations specify the maximum hydrocarbon and solids content in the water allowed in overboard discharges. Some studies have estimated that during the life of a well, 4 to 5 bbl of water are produced for every barrel of oil, making this fluid the largest volume of produced product in the oil and gas industry.
Additional information on water treating facilities can be found in:
- Water treating chemicals
- Materials for water treating equipment
- Removing hydrocarbons from water
- Removing solids from water
- Surface water treatment for injection
- Facilities for steam generation
- Collins, A.G. 1987. Properties of Produced Waters. In Petroleum Engineering Handbook, H.B. Bradley ed., Ch. 24. Richardson, Texas: SPE.
Noteworthy papers in OnePetro
Caudle, D. D. 1982. Water Treating Plant Design and Operation. Presented at the Society of Petroleum Engineers International Petroleum Exhibition and Technical Symposium, 17-24 March, Beijing, China. SPE-10006-MS. http://dx.doi.org/10.2118/10006-MS
Evans, P., Robinson, K. 1999. Produced Water Management - Reservoir and Facilities Engineering Aspects. Presented at the Society of Petroleum Engineers Middle East Oil Show and Conference, 20-23 February, Bahrain, Bahrain. SPE-53254-MS. http://dx.doi.org/10.2118/53254-MS
Gurden, C., Cramwinckel, J. 2000. Application of Reedbed Technology in Production Water Management. Presented at the Society of Petroleum Engineers International Conference on Health, Safety, and Environment in Oil and Gas Exploration and Production, 26-28 June, Stavanger, Norway. SPE-61180-MS. http://dx.doi.org/10.2118/61180-MS
Yang, C., Galbrun, M., Frankiewicz, T. 2004. Identification and Resolution of Water Treatment Performance Issues on the 135 D Platform. Presented at the Society of Petroleum Engineers Annual Technical conference and Exhibition, 26-29 September, Houston, Texas, USA. SPE-90409-MS. http://dx.doi.org/10.2118/90409-MS
Kwakernaak, P. J., van den Broek, W., Currie, P. K. 2007. Reduction of Oil Droplet Breakup in a Choke. Presented at the Society of Petroleum Engineers Production and Operations Symposium, 31 March-3 April, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA. SPE-106693-MS. http://.dx.doi.org/10.2118/106693-MS
Flores, J. G., Elphick, J. J., Lopez, F., Espinel, P. 2008. The Integrated Approach to Formation Water Management: From Reservoir Management to the Protection of the Environment. Presented at the Society of Petroleum Engineers Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, 21-24 September, Denver, Colorado, USA. SPE-116218-MS. http://dx.doi.org/10.2118/116218-MS
Paugh, L. O. 2008. Marcellus Shale Water Management Challenges in Pennsylvania. Presented at the Society of Petroleum Engineers Shale Gas Production Conference, 16-18 November, Fort Worth, Texas, USA. SPE-119898-MS. http://dx.doi.org/10.2118/119898-MS
Veil, J. A., Quinn, J. J., Garcia, J. 2009. Water Issues Relating to Heavy Oil Production. Presented at the Society of Petroleum Engineers Americas E&P Environmental and Safety Conference, 23-25 March, San Antonio, Texas, USA. SPE-120630-MS. http://dx.doi.org/10.2118/120630-MS
Walsh, J. M., Frankiewicz, T. C. 2010. Treating Produced Water on Deepwater Platforms: Developing Effective Practices Based Upon Lessons Learned. Presented at the Society of Petroleum Engineers Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, 19-22 September, Florence, Italy. SPE-134505-MS. http://dx.doi.org/10.2118/134505-MS
Frankiewicz, Ted. 2012. Diagnosing and Resolving Chemical and Mechanical Problems in Produced Water Treating Systems. https://webevents.spe.org/products/diagnosing-and-resolving-chemical-and-mechanical-problems-in-produced-water-treating-systems
Walsh, John M. 2013. Hydrocyclones for Water Treating—The Science and Technology. https://webevents.spe.org/products/hydrocyclones-for-water-treatingthe-science-and-technology
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