The Science and Technology of Water Management in Upstream Operations

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.

Full regional cancellation policies can be found at the Cancellation Policy page within the SPE Training Course Catalog.


John M. Walsh

Dr. John M. Walsh works for Jacobs Consulting, 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.

Kris Bansal is a consultant and has the expertise in developing optimum engineering solutions requiring system integration and interface with multiple disciplines from reservoir to the topsides in upstream production and processing operations. He recently retired as an Engineering Fellow from ConocoPhillips after 30 years of service in E&P.  At ConocoPhillips, he was the global subject matter expert in the area of upstream water management. 

Before joining ConocoPhillips, Kris spent 6 years in Saudi Aramco in operations engineering.  He provided design input to new projects, commissioning and start-up support, and led a team of engineers for process studies and corrosion control programs in upstream operations in the Ghawar field – one of the largest in the world.

At ConocoPhillips, Kris was heavily involved in nearly all areas of water treating including: conceptual and detailed engineering design of new projects, commissioning and start-up, water-flooding, steam flood, unconventional shale gas operations, and deep-water. He successfully developed processes for management of non-produced fluids including drilling wastes and flow-backs for optimized facility operation – a total system approach. He provided technical and problem solving expertise in ConocoPhillips worldwide operations to develop innovative, cost-effective and environmentally sound solutions to process problems.  He taught water-flood school and presented problem solving seminars for technology transfer to operations and engineering in ConocoPhillips. 

Kris has presented papers on the subject of produced water management at various conferences and workshops.  He was also the keynote speaker at technical forums of the Society of Petroleum Engineers.  Having earned a MS and Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry and MS in Chemical engineering, together with extensive experience in operations, Kris provides a unique combination of fundamental knowledge with first hand practical experience to organizations.