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INTEGRATED SOLUTIONS FOR WASTE WATER DISPOSAL

FROM OIL AND NATURAL GAS EXPLORATION AND PRODUCTION

(continued - to return to 1st page, click HERE)

COMPARISON OF VARIATIONS OF THE USE OF MAGNETIC MATERIALS IN WASTE WATER PROCESSING

The use of precipitation or granular materials(such as sand) for particulate extraction is not an entirely new process - and several companies are using these alternative processes. The table below compares the MBC system with two popular but less functional and more costly approaches.

TECHNOLOGY

MBC

VEOLIA ACTIFLO

SIEMENS FRACTREAT

General Description

MBC uses magnetite as a ferromagnetic ballast

Actiflo uses sand as a gravity ballast

Fractreatuses a Lamella Clarifier to settle solids solely by gravity

Size

20' x 8.5' x 8'

48' x 8.5' x 10'

45' x 8.5' x 13.2'

Capacity(barrels/day)

75,000

25,000

3400

Mobile

Yes

Yes

Yes

Water Clarity(NTU)

<10

<10

<10

Sludge Volume(as % of flow)

0.67(2% solids

6.67(0.2% solids)

0.67(2% solids)

Extra Services Required

None

50 gpm water service

None

Electrical(amps)

20 @ 208VAC

100 @ 480 VAC

50 @208 VAC

Polymer Use

Yes

Yes

Yes

Ballast

Magnetite

Sand

None

MBC Advantages: (1) smallest size;(2) highest capacity; (3) lowest energy use; (4) low sludge volume

DEWATERING TO FURTHER REDUCE RESIDUE WEIGHT AND VOLUME

A wide variety of "dewatering " systems can be used to further treat/compress the residue from the above, multi-stage process, either on-site or at a centralized processing facility. Water content can be substantially reduced by using rotary compressors such as the single channel Fournier system, resulting in a "cake" material which contains only a few percentage water content. This "cake" then then be hauled away to a centralized storage and/or distribution center where additional metals, minerals and other materials can be separated to create additional revenue streams for the overall operation.

Instead of hauling high liquid content contaminants in specialized containment vehicles, substantially less "dewatered cake" can be transported or stored. Any process which reduces transportation(fuel and labor) costs will increase the profitability and environmental safety/acceptability of the oil or gas extraction operation.

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REVIEW OF ALTERNATIVE WASTE WATER SOLUTIONS

The issue of oil and gas field water has been in front of the industry for decades - many times to the extent that scientists and engineers have tried to "force fit" specific, known technologies to solve the problem.

 

In most cases, a single fact is sometimes overlooked which creates an untractable problem for these potential solutions.

That fact is the attempt to "clean up the waste water beyond which may be necessary" for disposal or re-use in the field.

In other words, the waste water need not be processed to the point where all or nearly all of the total dissolved solids(TDS) are removed so as to make it useable for drinking purposes; or even for "diluting" subsequent high dissolved solids raw waste water in an attempt to make later batches of waste water easier to process.

We discuss two such potential solutions where this error is present; reverse osmosis and steam distillation.

REVERSE OSMOSIS is a popular technique for reducing the concentration of a variety of dissolved solids. Its use in water bottling, food and beverage industries, with fairly decent municipal water as the source, provides an excellent base for these consumable products. Additionally, with more exotic internal components, reverse osmsois can be applied to processing seawater, as is commonly found on many ocean vessels and utility water needs where nearby ocean water sources are available.

Where reverse osmosis(or R/O) falls short when applied to the oil and gas waste water problem(and waste water in general) is two fold:

 

(1) The percentage of recoverable, high quality water is very small compared to the volume entering the R/O system. The phrase "one step forward, three steps back" is appropriate in this context - since now one has twice or three times more waste volume to deal with than pure water, and that waste water is even more concentrated than the original waste water contaminant levels.

While desalination of seawater with reverse osmosis may be an acceptable solution, since the residue can be rejected back o the ocean, it is not a practical solution in this situation; and

(2) The ability of reverse osmosis to deal with suspended and dissolved solids fails on two counts:

(a) The suspended solids must be removed beforehand in order to prevent complete blockage of the reverse osmosis membrane; and

(b) Reverse osmosis has practical upper limits of dissolved solids with which it can contend...typically far below that which is encountered in most oil and gas waste water exploration and extraction environments.

While reverse osmosis may operate adquately in areas where low TDS is found(such as those areas illustrated in the US map illustrated previously(say 5000-9000 parts per million TDS in Wyoming), it fails on the first count of low recovery.

It is also important to remember that reverse osmosis has considerable difficulty in dealing with biological entities, iron, manganese, silca and other materials commonly found in flowback and produced water from oil and gas operations. Extensive "preconditioning" of such water for reverse osmosis then becomes necessary.

While many of the operational aspects of reverse osmosis can be automated, large systems still require highly trained technicians to be on site for maintenance. Not recommended for oil and natural gas waste water processing.

 

STEAM DISTILLATION is the system of choice in most all high purity applications, including an increasing percentage of home-based, point-of-use purification needs. While steam distillation in general exhibits a high recovery rate, typically several times higher than reverse osmosis, it also fails the test for oil and gas field waste water processing for two reasons:

 

(1) high levels of calcium, magnesium and other "scale-producing" ions in oil and gas recovery creates severe scaling in distillation system boiling apparatus as well as waste water portions of the distillation system where high concentrations of rejected brine begins to coat these brine exit surfaces.

Heat exchange technologies are normally employed in high volume distillation systems and whether that heat exchange process involves "plate" technologies or "tube-in-shell" designs for maximum heat exchange, the scaling may create insurmountable problems in these areas.

(2) when dealing with TDS levels in oil and gas fields, steam distillation runs into another near-intractable solution: in high recovery operations such as distillation, the concentration anywhere in the system where brine is encountered(boiler, heat exchangers etc.) the limit of solubility is quickly reached for ionic materials commonly found in oil and gas waste water(i.e. chlorides).

The limit of solubility varies with the ionic element as well as ambient temperature, but for illustrative purposes, a decent recovery process in a steam distillation system dealing with high chloride levels may only operate at dissolved chloride levels in the 60,000 to 70,000 milligram per liter(or parts per million) before precipitating out as solid materials - thus completely blocking the system from further water processing.

This chloride concentration is typically far less than that experienced in most shale-based exploration and extraction fields.

It is a large, energy intensive process which may use as much power as required to light up a small city; and requires highly trained technicians at hand to ensure that all of the delicate and intricate operations are functioning properly

Attempted development of large scale distillation system for oil and natural gas waste water treatment.

Some engineering organizations have attempted to work around these two impediments by periodically dumping the boiler, employing scale inhibitors or repeatedly flushing the cooling apparatus and other thermodynamic "tricks" as shown in the above picture - unfortunately complicating the entire system(which is complicated in the first place) and further reducing operating efficiency.

Steam distillation has its place elsewhere in industry - but at this point not in the oil and gas industry - again illustrating the "overlooked fact" that such high purity is not necessary unless the product water is being used for municipal or agricultural purposes. And then, many oil and gas operations are miles removed from municipal or agricultural users - further increasing the overhead costs associated with waste water operations if such high purity water is intended for these users.

SUMMARY OF MODULAR CONFIGURATIONS AND CAPABILITIES

We can configure and package any variety of the modules discussed above based on your particular contamination profile and processing volume needs. We have a questionaire at the end of this page which you can fill out an send by e-mail or fax and that will become the basis of continuing discussion with you as to how we can meet your needs.

SUMMARY OF FINANCIAL CONSIDERATIONS

We plan to lease these modules, or combinations thereof on a monthly basis with a non-refundable upfront fee. These financial numbers will depend on size, how the system is packaged or containerized and the volume you expect to handle and the types of contaminants you are encountering and wish to remove or separate. We will be happy to provide such a quotation once we have a good understanding of your needs as expressed in the questionaire.

CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

The preceeding information and data can apply basically to ANY oil and gas operation, depending of course on how the various models of the waste water processing system are configured to deal with local water conditions. The Bakken field and Williston Basin have been used as typical of a rapid-growth oil exploration and production zone - to predict what type of waste water volumes and business models would apply in such a situation.

As one might expect, this rapidly expanding business area will bring forth a wide range of possible solutions to the waste water issue. Each may have singular merits and meet one or more of he many operational needs and subsequently may find a home here or there to assist in ths imporant endeavor.

We have taken a different approach. We believe that there are many dimensions to a good solution and the ultimate design must shine brightly in each of these dimensions, whether related to cost, mobility, effectiveness, supportability, the amount of "green" content and other criteria that were covered in a comprehensive matrix above.

We strongly believe that simplicity in design, coupled with a careful analysis of the waste water characteristics

CONTACT INFORMATION

Aqua Technology - Gene Shaparenko, CEO. Pismo Beach, CA. offices at 1-800-478-7342 or internationally at 1-805-773-4502. Fax: 1-805-773-4409 for lab reports, etc.

We are a professional engineering, design and marketing organization with 35 years of hands on experience in a wide variety of water processing and purification needs - from home or light industrial point of use system to desalination systems for entire islands in the ocean.

QUESTIONAIRRE FOR PROSPECTIVE CLIENTS

(lab tests, description of current situation, types of disposal processes currently being used; potential markets for secondary materials(metals, salts, etc.); location of field; proximity of central processing system; number of oil or gas wells being serviced; estimate of amount of frack water required per day/week/month; estimate of recovered frack water; estimate of ratio of oil to produced water or actual amount measured, other information that would assist us in constructing a design )

TO GO TO QUESTIONAIRRE, CLICK HERE