Frac Water Recovery: Recycling and Using Brackish Water

When it comes to oil and gas production, produced water is a big deal. This is water that is usually trapped underground when formations are happening beneath the surface. This water is a huge waste material produced in this process. About seventy seven bbl of water is produced every year. This water can be recycled and used again by re-injecting into the well, reusing it or discharging it directly. So far, one of the methods that has been used because of its cost effectiveness is water disposal into disposal wells. However, frac water recovery can be done by treating the water, removing all the harmful effects and reusing it. Because usable fresh water sources are depleting, it has become imperative that the oil and gas companies consider recovery seriously.

The water that is produced has in it soluble as well as insoluble organic compounds, chemicals used in production such as surfactants and corrosion inhibitors, solids that have dissolved in it as well as those that are not dissolved. The methods currently available for frac water recovery include biological, chemical, membrane treatment processes and physical methods as well. There is need to use more water in keeping the hydraulic fractures open and brackish water can go a long way in ensuring that the freshwater wells are not depleted.

In places where fresh water is a scarce commodity or one that needs to be carefully monitored, using four or even six million gallons of fresh water in order to frac a well can be challenging. This need has driven drillers to finding brackish water that they can recycle and use for their process. In places where drilling has been going on for years, the water has been disposed off in disposal wells and has formed an underground ocean of water that is brackish. This water can be recycled to remove all the chemical elements in it and then reused in fracking the wells.

Of note also is the fact that some reservoirs of brackish water are even deeper than freshwater resources. If they have to be drilled up the costs may be quite high. Gas and oil companies are thinking forward and trying to find a way to reduce the use of freshwater by using water from their frac water recovery efforts and combining it with the brackish water drilled up. This water is then pumped back into the well for hydraulic fracturing. The brackish water has been found to be saline but not like water from the ocean and it works just fine.

Frac water recovery efforts are bearing fruit and that water is being combined with brackish water from underground reservoirs and used to frac oil and gas wells.

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