Gradiant completes Permian evaporation pilot project

By Gradiant Energy Services | December 31, 2019

Gradiant Energy Services, a solutions provider for produced and flowback water treatment and recycling, has announced the successful completion of an evaporative disposal pilot project for a super major in Permian Basin.

GES’s patented and trademarked Carrier Gas Concentration technology is ideal for E&P operators in remote areas that have disposal constraints, high trucking and disposal costs, or the need to enhance evaporation rates in ponds and pits. There are several advantages to using CGC technology such as lower energy consumption and the separation of wastewater heating from the physical separation process unlike other competing technologies. This enables the use of this technology with minimal pre-treatment.

CGC operates on the principle of humidification of a carrier gas via a multi-stage bubble column. Waste heat is used to heat produced water prior to entering the bubble column where it contacts carrier gas bubbles and transfers freshwater vapor to the carrier gas. This continuous process results in clean water vapor released into the atmosphere and concentration of the dissolved solids in produced water to make a concentrated brine. The concentrated brine can be used for drilling, work-overs and completions, or simply as a means of reducing disposal volumes.

CGC was successfully utilized to evaporate 1,000 barrels per day of produced water in the Permian Basin over a 25-day period using natural gas as a fuel source, which would have been otherwise flared. The treatment pilot consisted of H2S pre-treatment via oxidation and volume reduction through a CGC unit. The CGC included a natural gas-powered hot water boiler with heat exchanger to heat the produced water, and a bubble column where ambient air is introduced to extract water vapor from the produced water. As the technology does not need major pre-treatment, only an anti-scalant and a defoamer were used depending on the quality of the produced water, during operational uptime. The vapor from CGC was also collected and analyzed for total dissolved solids (TDS) which were measured at less than 500 ppm. The brine was concentrated to a value close to saturation (24 percent wt) and sent to the operator where it was used for work-overs operations.

“Disposal constraints are becoming a major concern for operators in the Permian. Longer term, excess produced water volumes will create higher disposal costs, potential environmental liabilities, and limited disposal capacity for E&Ps operating in the basin. As a full cycle water technology provider, GES is a strategic partner to super majors and other independents operators that are looking for innovative and sustainable solutions to lower disposal costs. This Permian evaporation project proves the economics of our value proposition to our client,” said Kushal Seth, Vice President of Technology and Engineering at GES.

The CGC technology was successfully showcased for multiple members of the super major’s senior management and the Latin American operational teams. The technology is projected to be used during the exploratory phase for unconventional development, where it will be evaporating the produced and flowback water, during the third quarter of 2020.