Screening Technology Options to Treat, Manage, and Minimize Produced Water Issues

GTI is enabling environmentally sound and cost effective management, by-product recovery, and beneficial use or reuse of produced water streams to ease public concerns about hydraulic fracturing.

Tasks at the Hydraulic Fracturing Test Site (HFTS)1–Midland Field Test Site assessed the environment footprint associated with shale drilling. Air and groundwater quality evaluations indicate the HFTS well pads had minimal impact on local air emissions concentrations, and analysis of water quality did not find any evidence of natural gas or produced water migration to the groundwater aquifer.

At HFTS2, GTI will perform environmental and microbiological research tasks to monitor water and air quality to lower environmental impacts. Water samples will be taken before and during fracturing, and during flow-back to evaluate changes in properties of shallow aquifers, flow-back, and formation water. The team will investigate microbial impacts on biological corrosion and reservoir quality deterioration, and develop mitigation strategies and advance technologies that minimize water use.

Since 1990, GTI has worked with the natural gas industry to improve the economics of produced water management. GTI researchers have led Water Conservation and Management Committees in the Barnett and Appalachian Shales, performed work for the New Albany Shale and Marcellus Shale Research Consortia, and assessed water management and reuse technologies for RPSEA. They utilized water-based life cycle modeling to provide timely planning and technology guidance for sustainable shale gas water and solid waste management.

In 2011, we completed a techno-economic assessment of water management solutions, a joint industry project with 22 companies. The study defined current water management practices, emerging solutions, and benchmark costs; categorized best-in-class options; and identified technology gaps and opportunities for cost reductions and efficiency improvements.

GTI has also provided objective, third-party evaluations of client technologies from methods to fracture stimulate unconventional resources more efficiently to systems for treating flowback and produced water more economically.

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