[Editor's note: This story originally appeared in the March 2020 edition of E&P. Subscribe to the magazine here.]
As water management demands increase, service companies are tasked with finding innovative solutions to the challenges that may arise at operating sites.
“The issues with more and more produced water continue to grow. Being able to recycle and store this water for future use is critical,” according to Mark Story, CEO of Reclaim Water Services. “To do that, we need to clean the water by removing the solids, hydrocarbons, bacteria and iron. We can’t just keep injecting this amount of water into the ground; we are running out of space and causing issues that affect everyone. We need to keep the produced water in the system and use it in oil and gas operations. It is the right thing to do for our environment.”
Water management services will remain an increasing demand among operators. “Oil and gas operators exploiting unconventional resource plays will continue to see increases in gross water production, especially as the industry contemplates larger multiwell pads, optimization of frac designs, well placement and reservoir drainage,” said Samuel Oliver, Blackbuck Resources’ chief commercial officer.
Water is challenging for the industry from a sourcing and offtake standpoint, he continued.
“Water is not homogenous, and it cannot be flared nor compressed. Most oil and gas operators will struggle to achieve the scale required to reuse their produced water, and the long-term need for water disposal or market alternatives will be a very real challenge,” Oliver said. “There is a significant market need for the water midstream industry to build out infrastructure to support the oncoming tsunami across all aspects of sourcing, gathering, storage, recycling, reuse and disposal.”
According to Oliver, oil and gas operators can rely on total water management solutions provided by aligned midstream providers that have the capabilities to treat and dispose of water, covering short- and long-term bases through scale and commercialization. “This will improve operational efficiencies, reduce logistical complexity and improve returns and cash flows for oil and gas operators,” he said.
Brent Halldorson, CTO, Water Treatment, at XRI Fountain Quail, added, “Oilfield water management is entering an exciting new era. Water midstream is the new frontier for investment capital. Look to see a step change forward as water recycling transitions from isolated single-party recycle systems into integrated multiparty large-scale systems utilizing water midstream infrastructure.”
The following is a sampling of some of the upstream and midstream key players in the water management space and their approach to meeting the oil and gas industry’s needs and challenges.
Aquatech Energy Services
With a total water system for sustainable upstream oil and gas water treatment solutions that are based on end use for the water, Aquatech Energy Services (AES), a division of Aquatech International, has been providing services on a turnkey basis to operators of both unconventional shale and conventional wells to manage, treat for reuse and dispose of drilling, flowback and produced water. The company also uses biocides and disinfectants to treat source and produced water for sulfate-reducing bacteria, reduction of H2S and prevention of biofilm formation within storage tank batteries. Source, flowback and produced water are treated for iron and manganese to reduce hardness-bearing compounds, such as barium, calcium and magnesium, and to reduce sulfates.
The AES team has extensive field experience, mostly in the Marcellus Shale. The aim of the company is to develop solutions that ensure consistent water composition with minimal contaminants for predictable production characteristics in hydraulic fracturing and also minimal downhole scaling. For example, the company’s MoVap mobile distillation system is designed for the removal of total dissolved solids to produce ultraclean water, which will help reduce wastewater volume.
The AES treatment processes are based on technology from Aquatech International. Business options range from short-term to long-term contracts operating at well pads using mobile treatment units or at central facilities using fixed modular treatment units, according to the company’s website.
Its systems include the MoSuite system for producing reusable and sustainable water sources for multiple well pads as well as for reducing the volume of freshwater. The MoTreat mobile pretreatment system removes total suspended solids and also can treat for hardness, bacteria and select precipitation of metals.
AES operates multiple merchant central water treatment facilities serving producers for treating and disposing of wastewater from E&P activities.
In addition, Aquatech International partners with Nalco Water to provide chemical services, water technologies and managed operations, all designed to reduce, reuse and recycle water.
Aqua Terra Water Management
With locations in the Permian Basin, Eagle Ford and North Dakota, Aqua Terra’s services include construction and operations of saltwater disposal wells, water pipeline transportation, water management and injection wells. The company provides expertise and strategies to meet regulatory and environmental requirements.
In 2018 Aqua Terra partnered with De Nora Water Technologies. The company combined its disposal and pipeline transportation infrastructure with De Nora’s water treatment technologies to create a fixed-facility recycling option.
According to a press release, “Recycling conducted by Aqua Terra Water Management utilizing De Nora’s process at Aqua Terra’s Jaker facility resulted in 98% reduction of iron, 100% bacteria kill, 100% removal of H2S and an 80%-plus reduction in total suspended solids, capable of producing excellent quality frac fluid with one unit able to treat 100,000 barrels per day.”
Baker Hughes Co.
Baker Hughes production enhancement chemical products are designed to protect the integrity of wells, maximize production throughout fracturing operations and help operators avoid fracturing water challenges with water analysis and treatment.
The company’s line of delayed production chemicals, the Sorb line of solid inhibitors, allows a slow release of different inhibitor chemistries to reduce the harmful effects of scale, paraffin, asphaltene and corrosion-related issues over the production life of the well. More than 30,000 applications have been performed by adding these chemicals to hydraulic fracturing treatments to improve well productivity. These treatments have shown up to five years of protection from various formation damaging deposits and improved production by up to 40%.
Basic Energy Services Inc.
Basic Energy Services’ water logistics segment provides oilfield fluid supply, transportation, storage and disposal services required in workover, completion and remedial projects as well as in daily producing well operations. The company provides trucking and water hauling expertise through 1,000 trucks and uses a fleet of LNG trucks primarily for water hauling. The company’s network of fresh and brine water stations is used to supply the water necessary for the drilling and completion of oil and natural gas wells. In addition to Basic’s water treatment services for recycling water, it also offers rental of portable frac tanks and test tanks for storing fluid at the well site.
In the third quarter of 2019, Basic launched a new subsidiary that will move and dispose oilfield wastewater in the Permian Basin along with other basins. CEO Thomas Monroe Patterson said his company has been functioning as an upstream company with a midstream company embedded, but now Agua Libre Midstream will have all of the company’s water assets as its own distinction.
Bison is Oklahoma’s largest water infrastructure and logistics provider. The privately held company offers water midstream services, trucking and logistics, and midstream and environmental services.
Bison’s water midstream services include water hauling, gathering, disposal and infrastructure needs. The company has more than 30 commercial disposal facilities, 300 transport trucks and an integrated network of permanent water pipeline infrastructure across the SCOOP/STACK, Merge, Arkoma and surrounding basins.
Bison made several acquisitions in 2019. In the first quarter, Bison acquired Big Star Trucking’s Oklahoma water hauling division and certain saltwater disposal permits owned by Vista Disposal Solutions. In May, Bison acquired Cobalt Environmental Solutions, a water disposal business in the SCOOP and Merge plays of Oklahoma’s Anadarko Basin. In August, Bison acquired Overflow Energy’s water infrastructure, permits and development plans also in the SCOOP and Merge plays. In October Bison acquired Tapstone Energy’s water infrastructure in the Northwest STACK region of the Anadarko Basin.
During first-half 2019, the company launched Bison Technologies, a new technology business focused on solving the energy industry’s most challenging water, logistics and infrastructure problems, according to a press release.
In December 2019, Bison entered into definitive agreements to acquire Gulfport Energy Corp.’s water infrastructure in the SCOOP for an upfront payment and other contingent consideration based on the timing, pace and magnitude of Gulfport’s future development program and water production levels, according to a press release.
“Simultaneously, the parties entered into 15-year agreements whereby Bison will exclusively manage all of Gulfport’s water gathering, recycling, storage, reuse, disposal, transportation, logistics and sourcing within a dedicated area across Grady, Garvin and Stephens counties,” the release stated. “The acquired assets include the 15-year agreements, a multiline water gathering and delivery system, 2.3 million barrels of storage capacity, 40,000 barrels per day of recycling capacity, 55,000 barrels per day of freshwater supply capacity, associated real property and a pending saltwater disposal permit.”
Blackbuck Resources LLC (BBR) designs, builds and operates water infrastructure and provides water-related services to the oil and gas industry. Those services include saltwater disposal (SWD), pipeline infrastructure, water sourcing, water treatment, water storage and pond management, and infrastructure acquisition.
Operating assets in the Midland and Delaware basins, “BBR takes a full life-cycle view of water management, focusing on alignment with customer needs,” the company said. “BBR is uniquely positioned for seamless large-scale acquisitions and partners with E&P operators in forward development to optimize LOE [lease operating expenses] through total water management contracts.”
BNN Water Solutions LLC
BNN Water Solutions, a Tallgrass Energy subsidiary, owns and operates more than 350 miles of water supply and gathering pipelines in addition to other water supply, storage, recycle and disposal assets supporting seven producing basins. BNN owns and operates permanent water infrastructure and delivers, sources, stores, gathers, recycles and disposes of water for oil and gas production.
Services offered by the company include permanent pipeline infrastructure; water sourcing and logistics; produced and flowback water treatment and recycling; gathering and disposal; water storage; full water life cycle management; and hydrotesting.
BNN is commercializing BNN Appalachia Water Infrastructure Network, which will significantly reduce truck traffic while promoting the reuse of produced water—in turn reducing freshwater demand and disposal requirements. BNN also is working with a major E&P company to develop a commercially viable water treatment system that allows produced water to be treated to a freshwater standard allowing for discharge or use in other industries. The company's extensive water distribution and gathering pipelines across multiple basins help keep trucks off the road, mitigating the substantially higher risk and environmental footprint of trucking.
Cudd Water Management Solutions
Cudd Energy Services’ Water Management Solutions (WMS) provides custom-engineered systems and chemistries to address water management challenges, such as those faced in fracturing operations. With services in water recycling, water treatment, biocides and well remediation, the company delivers methods for managing onsite fluids in a variety of oilfield applications.
“The technologies behind the WMS systems provide flexibility to address different water-quality requirements while improving personnel safety and operational efficiencies,” the company said.
The WMS water recycling system is a self-contained, mobile unit that restores produced water for reuse. Cudd’s mobile plants break down emulsions, remove hydrocarbons and oxidize iron and other unwanted species, while at the same time eliminating all bacteria and solids content from any water source. The results produce clear, solids-free brines.
The recycling system includes compartmental components housed on individual trailers that can be rapidly mobilized to centralized pits, tank batteries, frac locations or any water collection/treatment facilities. Cudd’s reduced footprint allows for quick rigup and improved logistics.
The company’s Petro-Flo Microbiocide, a stabilized chlorine dioxide platform, treats produced and surface waters for bacterial contamination. This biocide treatment system addresses biofilm and long-lasting biostatic properties (extender function).
Cudd’s well remediation services combine OxiFlo Oxidizer and its mobile activation unit to repair and restore wellbore damage caused by bacterial, iron sulfide, polymer residue, paraffin and wax accumulations, and other sludge combinations. OxiFlo Oxidizer is a selective oxidant that is designed to destroy sulfuric compounds, including iron sulfide and hydrogen sulfide. OxiFlo breaks down emulsions that trap hydrocarbons and solids to optimize the de-oiling and solids-removal process, and it completely denatures any residual polymer fragments or biomass in the well.
Cudd’s mobile activation unit features a programmable logic controller or manually controlled system with engineered activation capabilities. The equipment can pump 3,000-ppm systems at rates up to 30 bbl/min. All units are equipped with backup chemical pumps to avoid downtime during operations.
With technologies and processes for the filtration, oxidation and disinfection of water and wastewater, De Nora’s Water Technologies division addresses offshore and onshore water treatment needs of the oil and gas industry. These services range biofouling control, sewage treatment and membrane filtration on offshore drilling platforms to onshore frac water disinfection, produced water recycling and oil refinery process water treatment.
In April 2019, De Nora acquired a majority interest in Neptune Enterprises LLC, forming De Nora Neptune LLC. “A Texas-based water service company, De Nora Neptune has specialized in on-the-fly frac water treatment and cost-effective produced water recycling in the unconventional oil and gas industry since 2012,” a company press release stated. “As the service arm of De Nora, De Nora Neptune brings to De Nora an unrivaled service capability to both directly serve the industry and provide on-the-ground support to their existing technology customers within the Permian Basin and beyond.”
In May 2019, Kendra II LLC and De Nora commenced operations of a new produced water recycling facility in the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania. “The facility is capable of processing more than 18,000 bbl/d of produced water, with Kendra II LLC providing transportation, water management, logistics and disposal services as required by customers,” a press release stated.
DistributionNOW (DNOW) U.S. Process Solutions, which includes Power Service, Odessa Pumps and Total Valve Solutions, provides customized skid package engineering, design, fabrication and installation services for water management needs. The packages have integration technology so that a unit can operate completely automated.
The company provides saltwater disposal (SWD), waterflood, water transfer and custom-engineered packages. Its filtration systems are available for fresh and produced water transfer skids, custom SWD packages, chemical injection skids and waterflood packages, according to the company’s website.
Pumps are offered from several manufacturers, including Schlumberger’s Reda HPS horizontal surface pumps, National Oilwell Varco/Moyno positive displacement and progressive cavity pumps as well as Griswold and Flowserve ANSI B73.1 pumps. Equipment is selected for the best fit for the application.
Power Service designs, engineers and fabricates SWD and waterflood packages.
With multiple packaging options, DNOW Process Solutions can customize the operator’s facility, whether it is an open unit with a small reciprocating pump or a large facility with multiple horizontal multistage pumps. Control logic allows modulation of the facility’s flow. An operator can inject into multiple wells at varying pressures from a single injection pump and can adjust to surges in incoming rates, the website stated. The packages can be designed for injection rates up to 60,000 bbl/d and pressure up to 5,000 psig, the website stated.
DuPont Water Solutions
DuPont Water Solutions offers expertise and upstream and downstream technologies to address the industrial water resource management needs of the hydrocarbon E&P industry. From injection water to produced water, DuPont provides industrial water treatment options to handle oil and gas production needs with technologies that treat industrial water in upstream processes, such as ultrafiltration, polymeric adsorbents, selective ion exchange resins, reverse osmosis elements and sulfate-removal nanofiltration membranes.
In January 2020, DuPont completed the 2019 acquisitions of Desalitech, inge GmbH, Memcor and OxyMem Ltd., adding to its portfolio of water purification and separation technologies.
Evonik develops advanced chemistries that enhance production, protect assets and increase value throughout the hydrocarbon life cycle.
PERACLEAN 15 from the Active Oxygens Division is an ecofriendly, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-approved antimicrobial used to treat flowback and produced water. Unlike nonoxidizing biocides, it acts rapidly to destroy acid-producing and sulfate-reducing bacteria. It also can oxidize reduced sulfur species (e.g., sulfide). PERACLEAN 15 leaves no toxic residue as the product decomposes to water, oxygen and CO2.
Evonik polyoxycarboxylates and DEGAPAS products are aqueous polymer solutions with excellent dispersing properties. These anionic polymers, free of nitrogen and phosphorous, interrupt inorganic crystal growth and are perfect antiscalants/dispersants. They are optimized to prevent scaling based on calcium, magnesium, iron or manganese salts.
VISIOMER methacrylate monomers provide excellent building blocks for high-molecular-weight cationic flocculants for water treatment. A new application area is extended-release scale inhibition.
The Technical Applications Product Line offers cationic and nonionic surfactants. The ADOGEN, TOMADOL and TOMAMINE lines include fatty amines, etheramines, amphoterics, alcohol ethoxylates and amine quaternaries. These products are ideal for emulsifying and stabilizing the components of oilfield formulations, such as drilling fluids, stimulation fluids and corrosion inhibitors.
Exterran Water Solutions
Exterran Water Solutions provides comprehensive solutions and technologies for the global energy industry through a full range of produced water treatment products and services. Exterran’s end-to-end approach supports companies in recovering oil and reducing disposal costs whether shipping off site or reinjecting on location. The company’s services include rental units, pilot projects, mobile units, retrofits to existing equipment or permanent installs. Exterran’s technologies quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively treat produced water ranging in volumes from 100 bbl/d to more than 1 MMbbl/d, according to the company. To date, Exterran has treated more than 5 Bbbl of water and recovered over 21 MMbbl of oil.
“Through custom-engineering, Exterran’s team works closely with companies to evaluate needs and identify solutions in which businesses can meet their goals,” the company said. “With facility simplification, automated processes and real-time intelligent data through AI [artificial intelligence] operations, efficiency is improved resulting in lower opex and capex,” according to the company.
Exterran’s Revolift SP (Shale Play) is a mobile, compact, self-contained five-chamber flotation tank with fully integrated PLC. This system is trailer-mounted for quick shipping, installation and commissioning with minimal engineering and site preparation. It operates hydraulically with no internal parts resulting in a wider turndown range, high tolerance for upsets and nonstop performance handling flow rates up to 30,000 bbl/d.
Goodnight Midstream provides integrated produced water management to oil and gas producers with a network of water gathering pipelines and saltwater disposal (SWD) wells servicing contracted customers in the Permian Basin, Williston Basin and Eagle Ford Shale. In total, the company owns and manages a network of more than 550 miles of produced water gathering pipelines connected to 60 SWD facilities across the three basins in which it operates. According to the company, it is the largest third-party wastewater management company in the Williston Basin.
Goodnight Midstream is currently expanding its footprint in the Midland and Delaware basins. Since its entry into the Permian in 2016, Goodnight Midstream has constructed more than 100 miles of water gathering pipeline across seven systems. The company’s two largest projects, the Llano and Rattlesnake basin-export systems, were created to alleviate ongoing operator and regulatory concern surrounding shallow disposal within the Delaware Basin by transporting produced water from the Delaware Basin to the Central Basin Platform where the produced water is treated and disposed of into depleted zones.
Goodnight Midstream entered the Eagle Ford in early 2018 with operations in Dewitt and Atascosa counties. The company is in Phase 3 of its construction program, which is scheduled to be completed and online by the third quarter of 2020.
Gradiant Energy Services
Gradiant Energy Services offers custom-engineered technologies for oil and gas operators seeking treatment, reuse and recycling of flowback and produced water.
Gradiant’s recycling system is a mobile water treatment process that provides reusable clean brine as a hydraulic fracturing fluid. By cleaning water only to the needed level—and not beyond—the units process enables the reuse of treated produced water for operations, according to the company’s website.
The company can transform the most difficult water makeup into the highest quality freshwater with its desalination technology. “Developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology [MIT], the unit desalinates oilfield wastewaters to produce extremely freshwater (less than 500 ppm and even lower in many cases) and a highly concentrated brine solution that can be utilized for drilling, workovers and completions,” the website noted. “Desalination reduces the high transportation costs of produced water by treating the wastewater on site, producing freshwater and saturated brine.” It can also be used to generate a concentrated, 10-lb brine that can be used for drilling, workover and completions applications.
Gradiant provides high-volume disinfection treatment to control bacteria and treat water for storage pit maintenance, on-the-fly disinfection prior to hydraulic fracturing operations and before saltwater disposal injection, and also reduces H2S in water, according to the website.
The company’s evaporation technology, developed at MIT, “is ideal for E&P operators in remote areas that have disposal constraints, high trucking and disposal costs or the need to enhance evaporation rates in ponds and pits,” the website stated. “The process involves evaporating water and concentrating dissolved solids in the wastewater stream via a multistage bubble column humidifier.”
Gravity provides infrastructure and logistical expertise for high-volume water sourcing, transport and disposal. The company has a large fleet of vehicles and high-performance equipment as well as an expansive footprint in the major oil and gas producing basins, particularly in the Permian Basin. Gravity’s network of fluid logistics assets and infrastructure includes fresh and brackish water production and storage pits, long-life delivery, produced water gathering, freshwater sourcing pipelines, fluid hauling trucks and saltwater disposal (SWD) wells.
Gravity operates more than 125 miles of permanent pipeline infrastructure capable of managing water needs throughout the life cycle of a well, along with an extensive fleet of fluid service trucks and containment solutions. Gravity maintains an inventory of more than 5,000 mud and frac tanks for every fluid containment need. The company also has an extensive network of SWD wells in the Permian Basin and Williston Basin.
In March 2019, Gravity acquired certain water disposal infrastructure from MBI Oil & Gas LLC, further strengthening Gravity’s existing water management solutions in the Bakken. Then in June 2019, Gravity acquired certain water disposal assets from Pyote Water Systems III LLC, further strengthening Gravity’s position in the Permian.
In December 2019, Gravity acquired On Point Oilfield Holdings LLC, a Permian-focused water midstream gathering and disposal company. According to a press release, the On Point acquisition created the largest commercial produced water disposal company by injection volumes in the Midland Basin. Gravity now owns and manages more than 50 active SWD wells with more than 1 MMbbl/d of permitted disposal capacity.
GR Energy Services
GR Energy Services offers operators technology-driven water management services using a horizontal pumping system (HPS) in saltwater disposal, injection and water management. According to the company, the system provides flexibility to respond to changing operational conditions and quickly adjusts to match water rates and pressure requirements.
The Flex Flow water management system integrates field-proven multistage centrifugal pumps with variable speed drives, surface controls and automated reporting. The trailer-mounted systems can be deployed quickly as cost-effective options for early commissions, step-rate tests or replacement of equipment that is under repair.
The system can be monitored remotely to optimize system efficiency and make real-time adjustments to changing operational conditions. The remote monitoring ensures uptime is optimized and service allouts are kept to a minimum. GR performance advisers can tailor both permanent and trailer-mounted Flex Flow HPS systems to a wide range of operating conditions with flow rates up to 100,000 bbl/d of fluid, according to the company. Surface facilities engineers using Flex Flow systems have documented lower maintenance and repair costs, longer run life and greater operating flexibility and efficiency.
H2O Midstream LLC
H2O Midstream partners with producers, landowners and other stakeholders to improve the economics, reliability, sustainability and safety of water operations. H2O Midstream owns and operates the largest independent, fully interconnected produced water disposal and recycling system in the Midland Basin. This oilfield water “Super System” includes the Permian’s only truck-free, commercial produced water storage hub and pipeline network consisting of 1 MMbbl of storage, 735,000 bbl/d of permitted disposal capacity from 28 disposal wells and permits, and 40,000 bbl/d of recycling capacity—all 100% interconnected via 200 miles of contiguous pipeline. By moving all of its water by pipeline instead of truck, the company has removed more than 600,000 truckloads per year of produced water from Texas roads, reducing CO2 emissions by 144,000 tons annually.
H2O Midstream was selected by the University Lands (UL) management group to handle water across its 167,000 contiguous acres in the Delaware Basin. UL manages the surface and mineral interests of 2.1 million acres of land across 19 counties in West Texas for the benefit of the Permanent University Fund. In partnership with Layne Water Midstream, a new venture named UL Water Midstream was formed to serve produced and source water needs for E&P operators in and adjacent to UL’s footprint.
In August 2019, H2O Midstream acquired produced water infrastructure from Sabalo Energy LLC concurrent with the execution of a 15-year acreage dedication to provide produced water gathering, disposal and recycling services to Sabalo.
According to the press release, “The acquired assets are adjacent to H2O Midstream’s existing operations in Howard County, Texas, and consist of more than 37 miles of pipeline, nine saltwater disposal (SWD) wells, four Ellenburger SWD well permits and several third-party interconnects. The Sabalo system is already pipeline-connected to H2O Midstream’s expansive produced water gathering network. In addition to ongoing buildout to accommodate Sabalo’s development program, H2O Midstream is adding 40,000 bbl/d of recycling capacity with the option to expand to 80,000 bbl/d over time.”
H2O Midstream is funded via private-equity commitments from EIV Capital and several of EIV’s institutional partners collectively representing more than $80 billion in assets under management.
Halliburton provides the upstream E&P industry with expertise and analysis to assist in a variety of water management challenges from the surface to subsurface.
“From chemical and mechanical conformance tools to custom water treatment, Halliburton solves operators’ water challenges with processes and technologies that reduce unwanted water production and treat produced water for disposal or reuse while satisfying a broad range of reservoir management and environmental objectives,” the company stated on its website.
For example, Halliburton’s EquiSeal Conformance service was specially developed to shut off water production in horizontal or highly deviated wells.
Halliburton also can help minimize the use of freshwater in the oil field during drilling and completion of a well, fracturing or thermal operations. For stimulation, Halliburton’s Excelerate friction reducer portfolio was designed to perform exceptionally in produced water, across a broad range of salinity. Additionally, the polymers within the friction reducer portfolio were built with rapid hydration for quick performance and structured so operators can pump less material for reduced residue compared to competitive offerings.
Hydrozonix offers sustainably produced water treatment technologies and services. Treatment systems are tailored to meet each operator’s specific requirements. The company’s water treatment technology uses mobile and permanent systems that are ozone-based and require no liquid chemicals as well as portable aeration systems that maintain the quality of stored flowback and produced water. This creates a green and sustainable alternative to liquid chemical programs.
Hydrozonix provides “advanced technologies separately or as part of its HzO Trio program, which can replace conventional chemical programs and provide more effective control of bacteria, iron and sulfide at a much lower cost,” according to the company’s website. The HzO Trio includes HYDRO3CIDE, an automated oxidation system for produced and flowback water; a portable Hydro-Air Aeration System that aerates and mixes water in storage pits and tanks to maintain water quality; and On-The-Fly oxidation systems that disinfect water and remove iron and sulfides without chemicals that can be incompatible with frac fluids.
“Operators that recycle with the HzO Trio combination achieved higher water quality for a fraction of the cost of chemical programs,” the company stated on its website.
In addition, the HYDRO3CIDE platform includes a dashboard that monitors systems performance and water quality in real time on a PC or cellphone. The HYDRO3CIDE operating system, hydrOS, allows an individual HYDRO3CIDE system to automate and control a complete recycling facility.
In 2019 Hydrozonix released its HYDROFLARE, a flare-gas emission control device. This system uses produced water as a scrubbing agent to scrub flare gas and reduce emissions while evaporating produced water.
Key Energy Services
Key Energy Services operates more than 60 Class II disposal injection wells where produced water is run through settling tanks prior to injection. Services include experienced crews, technical expertise, data analytics and fit-for-purpose equipment.
Key’s fluid management services include transportation of fluids used in the drilling and completion process as well as frac flowback and produced water from completed or producing wellbores.
For managing fluid levels within its tank systems, the company equipped its disposal wells with a computer-controlled system for receiving produced water. The facilities are designed to treat and filter water efficiently, therefore injecting the cleanest possible water into disposal wells.
Its 50-plus wells are permitted for a combined 15 MMbbl per month. The company has four permitted fresh and brine water facilities throughout the Permian Basin, each providing more than 1,500 bbl/d, according to the company’s website.
The company’s vacuum trucks transport nonhazardous fluid or waste to or from well operations. The materials commonly carried include freshwater, field saltwater, 10-lb brines, calcium chloride/bromide, water and oil-based muds and other drilling fluids.
The company’s Sand-X frac tank separates the sand from the fluid return automatically. The sifting process removes fluids and chlorides, and the byproduct (damp sand) can be disposed of as conventional waste.
Layne Water Midstream
Layne Water Midstream (LWM) is a portfolio company of Post Oak Energy Partners LP and Genesis Park LP. As a full-cycle water midstream business, LWM provides upstream oil and gas companies with water sourcing, disposal and recycling services in the Delaware and Midland basins.
LWM operates in the Delaware Basin with existing pipelines, disposal assets and numerous in-process saltwater disposal (SWD) permits that are expected to provide more than 400,000 bbl/d of transportation and disposal capacity, according to the company. The company also operates an extensive source water business in the Delaware Basin with its 26-mile, 175,000-bbl/d Hermosa pipeline and access to source water in more than 90,000 acres in Reeves and Culberson counties in Texas, either owned by LWM or under long-term, exclusive lease arrangements.
According to the company’s website, it built “the largest water sources platform in the Delaware Basin with pond storage of more than 2 MMbbl and 175,000 bbl/d of water delivery capacity.”
LWM also operates water infrastructure assets in the Midland Basin, including more than 100,000-bbl/d source water assets in Martin County, Texas, and existing SWD permits.
The company’s business includes contracts with landowners for water midstream services on nearly 300,000 acres in the Permian Basin, including an exclusive long-term contract with the Texas General Land Office (covering 88,000 acres in Reeves and Culberson counties) and a preferred water services provider contract with University Lands (UL).
In January 2019, H2O Midstream and LWM signed a long-term contract with UL to jointly serve as the exclusive preferred water services provider on 167,000 acres located in Ward, Winkler and Loving counties in the Delaware Basin, a press release stated. H2O Midstream and LWM formed a joint venture known as UL Water Midstream LLC that develops and operates water infrastructure on the UL acreage.
NGL Energy Partners / Hillstone Environmental
In November 2019, NGL Energy Partners LP acquired all of the equity interests of Hillstone Environmental Partners LLC from Golden Gate Capital for approximately $600 million.
“Hillstone provides water pipeline and disposal infrastructure solutions to producers with a core operational focus in the state line area of southern Eddy and Lea counties, New Mexico, and northern Loving County, Texas, in the Delaware Basin, which complements NGL’s existing Delaware Basin water franchise,” an NGL release stated.
NGL’s Water Solutions segment provides services for the treatment and disposal of wastewater generated from crude oil and natural gas production and for the disposal of solids, such as tank bottoms and drilling fluids, and performs truck and frac tank washouts. In addition, the Water Solutions segment sells the recovered hydrocarbons that result from performing these services.
NGL has about 115 water treatment and disposal facilities, including about 204 disposal wells across the Permian, Eagle Ford, Denver-Julesburg, Granite Wash, Pinedale Anticline and Eaglebine. The company has a combined total of about 5.9 MMbbl/d of permitted disposal capacity. Numerous water pipelines directly connect from oil and gas producing wells to NGL’s saltwater disposal (SWD) facilities.
Oilfield Water Logistics
In October 2019, InstarAGF Asset Management Inc. acquired Oilfield Water Logistics (OWL) alongside its Canadian and international co-investors from NGP Energy Capital Management and NGP Energy Technology Partners and other private shareholders. OWL is now a portfolio company of InstarAGF Asset Management.
Working in the water midstream infrastructure space, OWL operates its gathering, reuse and disposal systems in Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, with a primary focus on the Permian Basin.
In January 2020, OWL acquired operating assets in New Mexico from long-term customer EOG Resources Inc. that included 23 saltwater disposal wells and 300 miles of water gathering pipelines. As a result, OWL owns and operates the largest produced water gathering system in the northern Delaware Basin, according to the company.
In the Rockies, OWL also recently expanded its Thunder Basin facility in Converse County, Wyo., to meet the increasing water management demand in the Powder River Basin.
OWL’s midstream water infrastructure networks offer E&P companies the opportunity to reduce water sourcing and disposal capex while providing redundant systems.
OWL builds supply and gathering lines as well as reuse infrastructure where appropriate that are all designed to maximize efficiency and minimize water management costs.
OSP touts itself as a service company for service companies. It works with the global oil and gas industry to create solutions for the effects of water and its use. OSP solves microbial challenges in oil and gas by providing microbial testing technology, oilfield chemicals, including microbial control products, and water-focused consulting services.
OSP’s oilfield chemical portfolio offers targeted products to maintain effective microbial control. The 2K7 and DB7 biocides are robust, non-ionic, highly compatible biocides offered in several formats and formulations depending on the application. The 2K7 offers balanced, long-term control, and the DB7 offers fast-acting, quick kill.
OSP’s service offerings also include microbial identification and evaluation inclusive of molecular testing. The company provides technical services to target and test for microbial contamination resulting in data-driven treatment solutions focused on long-term microbial control. OSP also targets, tests and treats microbial-related issues such as corrosion and souring.
Pentair’s oil and gas separations technologies can be applied to anime systems, NGL fractionation, inlet gas separation, LNG, deep wells, frac fluid cleanup, fuel gas, glycol dehydration and lube oil systems.
Pentair’s hydrocarbon recovery technology (HRT) was designed for produced water management, oil removal from wastewater and saltwater disposal. According to the company, HRT eliminates the need for expensive excess processing, chemical additives and storage tank capacity. Hydrocarbon recovery efficiencies of 99.98% are available through HRT, and its design is scalable and modular for both new capital projects as well as placement in existing operating units. Benefits to using HRT on process water systems include operational flexibility, reduction of lost energy, savings on chemical additives, lower maintenance costs associated with fouling, and elimination of excursions, the company’s website stated.
Pentair also provides high-performance filtration and separation systems for produced and flowback water streams. Additionally, the company offers a variety of secondary water treatment technologies that allow the reuse of produced water streams for uses such as agricultural irrigation and boiler feed water.
Pentair’s Pure Pack portable system for secondary and tertiary produced water and wastewater treatment “offers superior water quality with a smaller footprint and lower cost of ownership,” the website stated. “With oil content as high as 5% to 10% at the inlet, the Pure Pack can yield low parts-per-million oil at the outlet, and the high-quality recovered oil may be processed or sold to add value for the end user.”
Purity Oilfield Services LLC
Purity Oilfield Services has four core divisions. The Water Transfer Division has 10-in. and 12-in. layflat hose with the associated pumps and equipment. The Blue Line Division offers tanks and aboveground storage tanks for water storage, consisting of 20,000-bbl, 40,000-bbl and 60,000-bbl ponds, frac tanks, uprights, shale bins, open tops and more. The Trucking Division consists of trucks capable of transporting freshwater, production water and supporting the move of oilfield equipment. The OFT Well Testing Division offers a fleet of well-testing units for drillout, flowback and well
Purity’s freshwater services include hauling, delivery and logistics (truck or water transfer), onsite water transfer, pond rental and setup, water depot management, pad prep, onsite storage tanks, flowback and disposal services, location remediation (pre- and post-frac), chemicals and more. Purity’s freshwater services can be provided with turnkey pricing on services and rentals on a single well site or an entire field. The programs allow the operator to control expenses by knowing the project costs upfront.
Purity can coordinate freshwater and production water services and can also provide further logistics for water services, completion services and other operations. Purity provides rental items, trucking services and fluid management services. Services include everything from daily rentals to turnkey package solutions. The company operates in the Permian Basin, South Texas, the Rocky Mountain regions, the Barnett and the Bakken.
Reclaim Water Services
Formed in 2017, Reclaim Water Services is a joint venture between Economy Polymers & Chemicals, a manufacturer of high-viscosity guar gum, friction reducers and supplier of oilfield guar, and AGT Water Systems, a provider of water and wastewater technology.
Reclaim’s technology nonchemically removes contaminants from the water, providing nondetectable levels of hydrocarbons, bacteria and iron of less than 1 ppm and removing reacted solids for disposal. Reclaim manages and disposes of these solids. Other systems use dangerous chemicals to change the water chemistry and leave the contaminates in the water, including solids. This requires contaminant cleanup somewhere down the road or decreases the porosity of new or disposal wells. The treated water can be reused as soon as the system is discharged or stored for future completions. The system features minimal chemical use and a wide treatment range of water qualities without modifications. No retaining/settling ponds are required.
The system cleans water more completely than other processes, and water is ready to use within 8 hours of entering the system, according to the company. Remote operation offers greater safety with less manpower, and system costs are competitive with all other processes and require little to no capital to set up. Additionally, the units handle from 3,000 to 40,000 bbl/d and can be combined for larger volumes.
Schlumberger offers various services for managing the complete cycle of water management, which includes expertise on stimulation fluid requirements, operational schemes, reservoir characteristics, production volumes, hydrogeology, engineering design and environmental considerations. The company’s oil and gas water management services are designed to sustain cost-efficient operations, secure local operational water, safeguard continuous operations, utilize any water source, optimize water asset use and ensure responsible compliance.
The AllSeal water and gas conformance service from Schlumberger controls or shuts off unwanted water or gas production with an engineering approach. Schlumberger’s FracCON water-conformance fracturing fluid within the AllSeal service was developed for high-water-cut wells with recoverable reserves near an oil-to-water contact or gas-to-water contact. It features a relative permeability modifier capable of producing enhanced fracture geometry and increased proppant pack conductivity while mitigating water cut after fracture stimulation treatments.
The company’s xWATER integrated water-flexible fracturing fluid delivery service is designed to reduce or eliminate freshwater use and its associated transportation and disposal costs, while also decreasing environmental impact, according to the company.
Schlumberger’s CMR-MagniPHI high-definition nuclear magnetic resonance service can be used for differentiating and quantifying hydrocarbon, in addition to free, capillary-bound and clay-bound water in organic shales, providing critical subsurface insights that enable landing a well in the optimal zone to mitigate excess water production. The service uses new simultaneous T1 and T2 measurements to separate oil and water signatures that, according to the company, conventional nuclear
magnetic resonance cannot.
Select Energy Services Inc.
Select Energy Services Inc. is a provider of comprehensive water management solutions as well as chemical products and manufacturing to the oil and gas industry in the U.S. Select offers end-to-end water management services, including water sourcing and infrastructure, water transfer, containment, water treatment and recycling, flowback and well testing, fluids handling, and disposal services.
Select’s WaterONE automation technologies, supported by AquaView software, are designed to address the challenges associated with increasingly complex water networks across the oil field. With a fully automated transfer operation, Select is reducing the potential for human error and improving the visibility of water resources with real-time data, all accessible 24/7 through web and smartphone applications.
“Select is also a valued industry partner for large-scale infrastructure projects designed to address the long-term water needs of oil and gas operators, including operations associated with water supply and distribution pipelines, produced water gathering systems and saltwater disposal wells,” the company told E&P. “Select, through its comprehensive portfolio of water treatment and recycling technologies, also provides full life-cycle services and infrastructure designed to meet our customers supply needs through the recycling and reuse of their produced water supply.”
Additionally, Select has active disposal facilities located in the major U.S. shale plays with a permitted capacity of more than 300,000 bbl/d in addition to more than 400,000 bbl/d of permitted capacity available for development.
Through its Rockwater Energy Solutions brand, the company provides chemical solutions and treatment services that allow customers to optimize produced water fluid systems. Rockwater is a major manufacturer of friction reducers and specialty chemicals used in fresh to high brine fracturing fluids as well as production and flow assurance chemicals.
Tidal Logistics is a Select brand providing fluids handling services, including fluid recovery and removal, production support, and storage.
SitePro Inc. delivers digital fluid management solutions for the upstream and midstream sectors of the oil and gas industry. The company launched as an automation and command software solution provider in 2012.
In November 2019, SitePro acquired Integrated Control Solutions, an oilfield automation company, allowing SitePro to expand its fluid management operations.
SitePro provides operational and business products to oilfield operators that are designed to help them increase operational efficiencies while reducing operating expenses and allow them to manage their operations in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.
SitePro offers a range of digital products and managed services that allow oilfield companies to automate their fluid management operations, streamline back-office activities and outsource the day-to-day management of their facilities. SitePro also provides full, turnkey electrical services for design, installation and maintenance of all of its equipment.
“SitePro serves more than 50 of the biggest names in oil and gas, with plans to expand across additional verticals with a platform that enables significant operational improvements that translate to substantial cost savings on a per site basis or across a complex system of facilities,” the company said.
Solaris Water Midstream
Solaris Water Midstream owns, operates and designs water infrastructure assets with a focus in the Permian Basin. The independent company’s services include produced and flowback water gathering and transportation, wastewater reuse and disposal, water sourcing and delivery, and pipeline design and operation.
The company’s operating water infrastructure systems are located in the Delaware and Midland basins. Solaris’s Pecos Star System in the Delaware Basin has more than 200 miles of active and under construction permanent pipelines transporting produced water and supplying recycled and brackish water for oil and gas operations. The Pecos Star System’s pipeline network is connected to numerous active and under construction disposal wells. By the end of 2019, the system was scheduled to have more than 400 miles of large diameter produced water and water supply pipelines and connections to dozens of owned and third-party disposal and recycling facilities across Texas and New Mexico. Additional systems are under development in the Delaware Basin, which will have similar service offerings as the Pecos Star System.
Solaris Water’s Midland Basin systems include about 85 miles of pipelines, two recycling facilities capable of recycling 25,000 bbl/d each and connections to 11 disposal wells.
In July 2019, Concho Resources Inc. and Solaris Water Midstream LLC announced the formation of a joint venture (JV) focused on optimizing produced water logistics at scale in the Northern Delaware Basin, according to a press release. Solaris Water will manage Concho’s produced water gathering, transportation, disposal and recycling for about 1.6 million acres located primarily in Eddy County, N.M. Concho will contribute 13 saltwater disposal wells and about 40 miles of large-diameter produced water gathering pipelines in exchange for cash and an equity ownership in Solaris Midstream Holdings LLC, the parent of Solaris Water.
Sourcewater is a digital platform for oilfield water intelligence. The platform tracks and reports the movement of water, where it originates and where it goes both above and below ground; predicts where water can, will and should move in the future; and helps its customers decide where they should move their water for maximum profitability, reliability and sustainability.
“Sourcewater strives to show where every drop of oilfield water comes from and goes to on the surface and in the subsurface of the Permian Basin and other U.S. shale plays,” the company said.
According to the company, Sourcewater is the first upstream water and disposal marketplace and the largest water and disposal data provider in the upstream energy industry. The platform is designed to reduce the costs of water management and enable better business decisions through better data, information and insights.
“The company is pioneering geospatial data engineering and integrity systems, satellite imagery analytics of energy infrastructure and advanced geoscience insights to help its clients, which include E&P, oilfield services, energy investment and water midstream companies, get ahead of the rig and make the best operational, business development and investment decisions,” Sourcewater said.
TETRA Technologies’ water management services for hydraulic fracturing and unconventional well completions include sourcing, fresh and produced water transfer, pipeline construction, storage and pit lining, treatment and recycling, blending and distribution. Additionally, TETRA provides flowback and sand management. Both water and sand management services are automated and remotely monitored via the TETRA BlueLinx automated control system.
TETRA uses an oil separation system to accumulate and remove residual oil from produced water in real time to ensure treatment performance and compliance with regulatory storage requirements. The accumulated oil can then be put back into the operator’s sale pipeline.
The company uses an automated water treatment system to chemically treat produced water through a clarification or dissolved air flotation process that enables recycling of up to 100,000 bbl/d of produced water. The system uses web-based, real-time monitoring and control technology providing operators with 24/7 access to treatment and recycling operations. This provides a transparent and on-demand view on the chemistry applied to treat the water and its effectiveness.
TETRA also offers automated blending and distribution technology that provides accurate parameter-based blending and consistent blend quality, whether directly filling frac tanks or transferring to another location. The technology is equipped with real-time, computer-controlled, tank-level management ensuring supply and preventing tank overflows.
The company’s storage and pit lining services ensure drilling and completion operations have a sufficient water supply on site and on demand while its pipeline solutions are designed to provide safe, reliable and environmentally sound delivery of fluids to, from and across the job site.
TETRA’s laboratory services offer a range of testing with a focus on water analysis and water clarification.
Veolia Water Technologies
Veolia provides water treatment, reuse and wastewater services and technologies. Its water treatment technologies include more than 350 solutions to manage, optimize and recover water and wastewater for municipal and commercial systems.
ShaleFlow is a transportable, modular system that can treat up to 10,000 bbl/d (300 gpm) of produced water with a simple drop-and-go approach.
Veolia’s CoLD crystallization process for desalination of produced water is designed to eliminate the need for expensive pretreatment of the produced water, thereby reducing capital and operating costs, according to the company.
For produced water treatment, the company offers OPUS, among other technologies. OPUS is an optimized pretreatment and separation process for the desalination of feed water with high concentrations of silica, organics, hardness, heavy metals, boron and particulates.
For offshore upstream oil and gas operations, Veolia offers “a flexible, creative approach to problem solving for offshore drilling applications,” according to the company’s website. The Sulphate Removal systems and Seawater Reverse Osmosis systems were designed for low chloride water supply. Potable and service water systems are also available, tailor-made to integrate with the main process plant.
In addition, the AQUAVISTA digital services platform offers a range of customized digital solutions for water treatment systems.
WaterBridge Operating LLC
WaterBridge is a privately held company focused exclusively on water midstream and operates the largest commercial produced water networks in the southern Delaware and Arkoma basins. WaterBridge owns and operates integrated produced water gathering and transportation systems, including about 1,000 miles of pipeline spanning nine counties in Texas and Oklahoma and 80 disposal facilities with 1.8 MMbbl/d of aggregate produced water processing capacity.
WaterBridge provides producers with solutions and flexibility through its water midstream gathering, processing, disposal, supply, recycling and reuse services.
In 2019 WaterBridge acquired assets from NGL, Luxe, PDC, Tall City, Jetta and Primexx; engaged in a long-term contract with Occidental Petroleum; and raised capital through a minority investment with GIC, a $1 billion Term Loan B and $150 million Magnetar preferred equity investment.
Water Standard & Monarch Separators
Water Standard specializes in advanced water treatment technologies such as deaeration, filtration, desalination, high purity water and seawater treatment for EOR/IOR as well as engineering services to help achieve these water treatment goals.
Water Standard’s produced water subsidiary, Monarch Separators, designs, engineers and manufactures separation technologies for the removal of oil, solids and other constituents from water. With more than 45 years’ experience and more than 3,000 installations worldwide, Monarch and its first-class service team offer technologies for oil-water and solids-water separation that produce a cost-effective, quality water discharge effluent that can be reused, discharged or re-injected, according to the company.
The two companies provide products and services that help energy companies optimize their water processes and allow them to safely and responsibly reuse their water as an asset in their operations and/or safely discharge it back into the water cycle.
XRI Fountain Quail
In April 2019, XRI Holdings LLC, a water midstream company backed by Morgan Stanley Energy Partners with owned infrastructure throughout the Permian Basin, acquired the water treatment and recycling division of Fountain Quail Energy Services LLC. The water treatment division is now a wholly owned subsidiary of XRI operating under the Fountain Quail Water Management name. Together, XRI and Fountain Quail aim to “revolutionize the water midstream industry” by reducing reliance on saltwater disposal and freshwater sources, the company stated on its website.
Fountain Quail offers treating and recycling systems, including its SCOUT, ROVER, MAVREX and NOMAD technologies that are being used by operators in multiple shale plays. These technologies have assisted in cutting water-specific operating costs by at least 30% and up to 80%.
Fountain Quail’s mobile SCOUT system offers basic removal of suspended solids, oil, iron and bacteria.
The ROVER technology targets a higher level of contaminant removal compared to the SCOUT, with each ROVER system capable of recycling greater than 30,000 bbl/d to 105,000 bbl/d of clean brine, depending on location.
The MAVREX system utilizes variable feedback controlled chlorine dioxide technology and is effective across a broad range of bacteria and biofilms.
The NOMAD technology employs the most energy-efficient thermal evaporator available in the market, according to the company. The skid-mounted system is capable of generating 2,000 bbl/d of distilled, surface-discharge quality freshwater.
In August 2019, XRI, which owns infrastructure throughout the Permian Basin, completed its Northern Delaware Basin Supersystem with water pipeline infrastructure spanning more than 125 miles throughout the core areas of development activity in New Mexico’s Lea and Eddy counties, according to a company press release. “The new system will be supplied by environmentally responsible, nonpotable and industrial water resources owned or controlled by the company as well as recycled produced water volumes from regional XRI Water Exchange Terminals using the company’s Fountain Quail Water Management technologies,” the release stated.
Read E&P magazine's March 2020 "Water Management Techbook" articles:
Bringing Balance to Water Demands
Meeting Water Management Demands (story above)
Innovations in Water Management Technology
The Rise of Water in the Midstream
Exports are insufficient so far to keep propane inventories manageable, but as the price continues to drop, that could change.
With the long-term contract model fading, LNG’s success as a commodity will rely on providers’ ability to put the product on the water as cheaply as possible.
U.S. exports and technological innovations, especially LNG and carbon capture utilization, can introduce energy security and lower emissions across the globe, energy secretary says.