As the oil and gas industry evolves to become more socially responsible with using natural resources such as water, economics constraints are an ever-present concern. The three highlighted papers share different approaches regarding how produced water could be managed economically.
As the oil and gas industry evolves to become more socially responsible with using natural resources such as water, economics constraints are an ever-present concern. The three highlighted papers share different approaches regarding how produced water could be managed economically. The topics span from working collaboratively between governmental agencies, industry, and academia toward practical solutions; applying digital technology; and water management for smaller operators.
The lessons learned from a regulatory perspective in Trinidad and Tobago about gaps and deficiencies in regulatory enforcements are not unique and are applicable in many parts of the world. Lessons learned include using an integrated management approach; understanding relevant environmental standards; and standardizing how solutions are evaluated and assessed, all of which could lead to better outcomes.
The digital space can be capitalized to enable cost savings in water management. Advancements such as using machine learning to optimize membrane performance in sulfate removal units is one of many possible applications.
The traditional mindset has been that economically viable produced-water management required large-scale development. The technical paper on this topic illustrates water management executed at smaller scale, such as a five-well section development plan in an unconventional reservoir that proves financially beneficial. This was accomplished by taking an integrated approach to embedding recycling and reuse of produced water in the lifecycle of the well.
As an industry, we have opportunities to manage and reduce our impact on water resources by adopting digital technology, consistent and relevant government regulations, and integrating planning throughout the lifecycle—from project inception to product delivery to end users.
This Month's Technical Papers
Rosa Swartwout, SPE, is a principal scientist at Baker Hughes. She is the current chair of the SPE Water Lifecycle and Strategy Technical Section and the Fluids Management group of the American Association of Drilling Engineers. Swartwout has more than 20 years of experience in topics related to drilling and completion fluids and holds BS and MS degrees in chemistry. Swartwout serves on the JPT Editorial Review Committee and can be reached at email@example.com.