Mechanical Vapor Recompression for the Treatment of Shale-Gas Flowback Water
Used extensively by the food, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries, the mechanical-vapor-recompression (MVR) process is viewed as a reliable method for recovering demineralized water from concentrated brines. Devon Energy has supported the operation of an advanced MVR system at a north-central Texas (Barnett shale region) treatment facility. At this facility, pretreatment included caustic addition and clarification for total-suspended-solids and iron control. Pretreated shale-gas flowback water was then sent to three MVR units, each rated at 2,000–2,500 B/D (318–398 m3/d). Data were collected during a 60-day period in the summer of 2010. Distilled-water recovery volume averaged 72.5% of the influent water to the MVR units. The influent total dissolved solids (TDS) fed to the MVR units averaged just under 50 000 mg/L. More than 99% of the TDS were captured in the concentrate stream. The fate of multivalent cations; total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH); and benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes (BTEX) throughout the treatment system was determined. Most of the iron and TPH removal (90 and 84%, respectively) occurred during pretreatment. The total removal of iron, magnesium, calcium, barium, and boron from the distillate exceeded 99%. BTEX removal from the distillate exceeded 95%. Electric power at the facility was provided by two natural-gas generators, and compressors associated with the MVR units were driven by natural-gas-fueled internal-combustion engines. Energy requirements at the entire treatment facility were tracked daily by total natural-gas use. Best-fit correlations between treated water and distillate production vs. total plant use of natural gas indicated that there was a base power load throughout the facility of approximately 120 to 140 Mscf/D (3400 to 3960 m3/d) of gas. Approximately 48 scf -natural gas/bbl influent water treated (270 m3/m3 influent) or 60.5 scf/bbl distillate produced (340 m3/m3 distillate) was required; this represents an energy cost of less than USD 0.25/bbl treated (USD 0.04/m3 treated) and approximately USD 0.30/bbl of distillate product generated (USD 0.048/m3 distillate), assuming a natural-gas cost of USD 5/million Btu (USD 4.72/GJ). Performance in terms of water recovery and product-water quality was stable throughout the 60-day test.
Case Studies in Produced Water Treatment
Three papers selected from 2018 SPE ATCE look at the challenges and approaches to the treatment of increasing volumes of produced water.
An Overview of Fit-for-Purpose Water Treatment in Permian Shale
Sourcing water for hydraulic fracturing, and disposing of produced water, are well-known constraints and items of significant cost in the development of shale formations in the Permian Basin. Using a water-life-cycle approach, however, some of the produced water can be treated and reused.
Testing of Two-Stage Biofiltration Unit for Mitigation of VOC Emissions
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) present in crude oil can be released to the atmosphere from storage tanks, waste waters, and equipment leaks. A pilot-scale sequential biotrickling/biofiltration unit was designed and tested for removal of VOCs from a wastewater sump.
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