The Science and Technology of Water Management in Upstream Operations

Disciplines: Projects, Facilities, and Construction

Course Description

This course provides a fundamental understanding of water treating with a specific focus on upstream production and processing operations. It presents the fundamental mechanisms behind various water treating equipment and processes and gives practical experience from dozens of water treating facilities from around the globe for improved equipment performance.

Throughout the course, field experiences, practical issues, and performance of equipment is analyzed and explained in terms of chemistry and engineering principles. The scientific aspects of water treating are presented in a practical down-to-earth manner that can be understood with little prior study, and can be immediately implemented in the field.


  • Characterization of oil/water/gas for water treating
    • Produced Water
    • Non-produced Fluids
    • Facility drainage systems
    • Flow back fluids
  • Equipment description, selection, performance, and challenges
  • Process engineering and process line-ups
  • Chemical treating
  • Operations – sampling, monitoring, and surveillance
    • Water-flooding, Injectivity Decline, Remediation
  • Process Troubleshooting, Total System Approach
  • Water treatment for fracturing operations

As indicated by these topics, the full project life cycle is covered from concept selection to front end engineering, detailed design, operation, and trouble shooting. Also indicated is a balanced approach toward chemical versus mechanical treating. A rigorous approach toward troubleshooting is presented with several examples.
Lessons learned and best practices are presented from essentially all major hydrocarbon production regions of the world. Applications include both onshore and offshore systems, as well as water treating for injection disposal, water flood, polymer make-up, polymer flooding, steam flooding, and hydraulic fracturing.

Learning Level

Introductory to Intermediate

Course Length

3 Days

Why Attend

Water treating is becoming increasingly important for maintaining the license to operate, as a component of DBOO project delivery, and for developing IOR/EOR projects.

Who Attends

The course is intended for process, facilities, and chemical engineers, involved in either design or troubleshooting water-treating systems and senior operators. Both onshore and offshore facilities are presented.


2.4 CEUs (Continuing Education Units) are awarded for this 3-day course.

Cancellation Policy

All cancellations must be received no later than 14 days prior to the course start date. Cancellations made after the 14-day window will not be refunded. Refunds will not be given due to no show situations.

Training sessions attached to SPE conferences and workshops follow the cancellation policies stated on the event information page. Please check that page for specific cancellation information.

SPE reserves the right to cancel or re-schedule courses at will. Notification of changes will be made as quickly as possible; please keep this in mind when arranging travel, as SPE is not responsible for any fees charged for cancelling or changing travel arrangements.

We reserve the right to substitute course instructors as necessary.


John M. Walsh

Dr. John M. Walsh works for Worley Advisian, having formerly worked at Shell for 21 years, CETCO Energy Services, and Westvaco Paper Company in various areas of water treatment. He is the author of Produced Water volumes 1 and 2, and over 60 papers and presentations.

Walsh has 35 years of experience across a broad range of onshore/offshore, conventional, and unconventional water management applications. He has designed water-treating systems for applications in 18 countries around the world. He has led water treatment technology development, field trials, pilot evaluations, and troubleshooting programs.

Walsh was appointed the Shell Global Subject Matter Expert for Water Treatment. He is versed in reservoir engineering and helped optimize water flood specifications and treatment, mediating between reservoir and facility engineering interests. He is well-connected in the industry having served on the board of directors for SPE, as president and managing director of the Produced Water Society, associate editor for SPE, and as organizing chairman for a dozen workshops and conferences on produced water across the globe.

Having earned a Ph.D. in chemical engineering, together with extensive experience in operating units, Walsh brings a unique combination of fundamental knowledge with firsthand practical experience.

Ken Martins

Ken Martins is currently the Global Technology Director for Worley’s Advisian Industrial Water Group consultancy business.  Martins has over 37 years-experience in the design and operations of water and wastewater treatment systems.  His experience includes extensive field experience through employment with a Fortune 500 chemical firm, as well as equipment and process design at an original equipment manufacturer of water treatment equipment.  Martins is a Senior Technical Consultant specializing in industrial water and wastewater treatment.

He has technical expertise in many types of water treatment systems such as activated carbon and media filters, air stripper systems, reverse osmosis and ultrafiltration systems, advanced oxidation processes, demineralizers and other selective ion exchange systems, evaporator and crystallizer systems, biological treatment systems, and systems treating radionuclides bearing waters.

Martins’ scope of work experience includes initial data collection (wastewater flow measurement and sample collection) through project definition, predesign, A/E design services, bidding, services during construction, startup, development of operation and maintenance (O&M) manuals, operator training, operations management, treatability testing, pilot testing, and operation permitting assistance. Martins previously instructed masters level civil engineering courses in water and wastewater treatment at California State University, Long Beach.

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