When a company in the gas and oil industry goes out to drill, they will often find water in the gas or oil reservoir. As part of the process of producing oil and gas this water is extracted. The gas reservoirs will generally have a small amount of water, but the oil reservoirs carry a lot of it. The water in the reservoir will often came from one or a combination of the following sources:
* Injected water that is drawn from injection wells
* Connate water that has been in the reservoir before production began
* Water that has been condensed from the gas produced
The produced water has different chemical and physical properties even though they vary from one area to the other. The variations found are dependent on the hydrocarbon composition, history or water injection, geology of the reservoir and where it is located geographically. Frac water disposal is an important topic because the water contains contaminants that will need to be removed from the water before it can safely be disposed or reused. These substances or impurities include dissolved salts, hydrogen sulfide, greases, hydrocarbons, sand, waxes, production chemicals, oils and radioactive materials that occur naturally. In addition to that, there are various metals that may be found in the water as well.
Depending on what the water is to be used for the treatments used will differ. Some of these include evaporation, cyclonic separation, filtration and flotation which are the more common ones. After the treatment of this water, there are several options available if frac water disposal is to be safe. Some of the disposal methods used includes:
* The water can be re-injected to maintain pressure levels. You replace the water back into the river, sea or aquifer so that it can be used later as a source for water injection.
* Surface disposal of the water back to the sea if the local environment laws allow for that. In addition you can release it into evaporation ponds again only if local laws allow.
* The water can also be reused in industrial processes or for irrigation.
* It can be injected into a disposal formation or a disposal well. This is generally a place on the reservoir that is watered out.
Regulations surrounding frac water disposal have been tightened lately making it difficult to dispose on the surface or into evaporation ponds. This water which is for all intents and purposes considered industrial waste is subject to environmental laws.
Frac water disposal is an important process in the gas and oil industry. There are several ways to first treat the water then dispose of it.
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