The De Nora blog: Water Made Easy

ClorTec® Electrochlorination: The Water Treatment of Choice for Upstream and Midstream Applications - Interview with Andrew Boal, PhD

Jul 20, 2021 2:57:41 PM / by Andrew Boal, PhD

De Nora’s product and industry expert, Andrew Boal, has a PhD in organic chemistry, having spent the earlier part of his career at Sandia National Labs and NASA doing research in nanotechnology and looking for life on other planets before joining the water industry. So, you may be wondering why he’s uniquely qualified to advise our Oil & Gas customers on how to best treat oilfield water at various stages of the production process. Today, his scientific mind is being applied to developing novel approaches to Oil & Gas water treatment, particularly for midstream companies and produced water recycling opportunities. As Andrew would say, “Think of produced water as a valuable resource, not an operational waste product.”

De Nora’s focus for the Oil & Gas industry has always been on disinfecting freshwater used in hydraulic fracturing; however, there has recently been increasing demand for midstream water management, because of the scarcity—and value—of fresh water. Since this is one of the more complex areas of water treatment, De Nora relies on experts like Andrew to address these challenges. “The makeup of this water is very complicated—much more so than at a municipal water treatment plant or cooling tower.” He further explains, “With hydraulic fracturing, you get 9-10 barrels of produced water for every barrel of oil, and that produced water needs to be disposed of elsewhere.” It is estimated that in the U.S. onshore environment, up to 20 billion barrels of water are produced every year, along with hydrocarbons. This water is injected into either producing wells for enhanced oil recovery or into saltwater disposal wells. Pure volume is just one of the reasons that the demand for recycling has increased exponentially.

Why consider electrochlorination technology?

1) It eliminates oilfield bacteria (like SRBs) that can harm the environment and cause corrosion
2) It oxidizes hydrogen sulfide and iron
3) It helps remove suspended solids

Water comprises an enormous portion of Oil & Gas production. Producers have to acquire fresh water—either from a surface water source like a river or from groundwater in an aquifer—and treat it prior to hydraulic fracking. Then the company has to pay to dispose of that water when it is returned as flowback, plus all of the additional produced water from the well. Furthermore, there are growing concerns about induced seismicity—minor earthquakes and tremors linked, in some cases, to injection wells. This can further limit the amount of produced water that can be disposed of in saltwater injection wells. No wonder, producers consider water to be a necessary evil, in terms of cost, environmental impact, and growing seismic concerns.

Look to ClorTec for disinfection and oxidation of undesirable byproducts.
ClorTec oxides the produced water and also kills the bacteria. Compared with chlorine dioxide, ozone, bleach, or hydrogen peroxide, ClorTec’s value is in the technology—which increases safety and decreases costs. Our customers use ClorTec for: standard disinfection processes (frac-on-the-fly), as well as treatment and recycling of produced water (utilizing either a fixed or mobile infrastructure). The results: reduced operating expenses with an ROI of less than 12 months, improved safety using the best chemistry available, and supply chain stability with readily available, inexpensive ingredients—salt, water, and power!

Realize the ClorTec advantage.
ClorTec® systems designed for the onshore Oil & Gas industry can withstand challenging operational conditions and reliably deliver onsite water treatment chemistry anytime, anywhere. We can oxidize water for less than 1 cent per barrel in many cases. In comparison, bulk bleach would be three times that amount. Your specific ROI will depend on the volume and amount of contamination in the water; however, most of our customers realize a 9-12-month return. Once you get past that, you’re continually increasing your savings.

Reduce the operating costs associated with water management.
Estimate your annual operating expenses with our sodium hypochlorite cost calculator. You’ll also be able to determine your production capacity and dosing requirements, cost per day, and cost per barrel. Complete this form to access the calculator.

Ask yourself, “How can electrochlorination fit into my water treatment strategy?” Midstream companies play an important role: they transport the water, treat it, dispose of it, and take it back to the producers for use. That’s why they are ideal users of ClorTec systems. Want to speak with our expert? Contact Andrew Boal to learn more about the present and future uses of electrochlorination for the Oil & Gas industry.

About De Nora
De Nora is multinational leader in sustainable technologies that offers energy saving products and water treatment solutions. Globally, De Nora is the largest provider of insoluble electrodes for electrochemical processes (Chlorine & Caustic, Electronics & Surface Finishing, Pools Electro-chlorination, Cathodic protection, Energy storage & fuel cells) and is among the leaders in technologies and processes for filtration and disinfection of drinking water, industrial and municipal water treatment, ballast water, and marine wastewater.


Tags: water treatment, CloreTec, oil and gas, produced water treatment

Andrew Boal, PhD

Written by Andrew Boal, PhD

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