Twenty-seventh Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference

Drilling and Fracturing Fluid Water Reuse and Alternate Sourcing: Key Chemistry and Chemical Technology Advances to Reduce Essential Resource Depletion

Symposium Organizers: Brian Price, Rockwater Energy Solutions, and Dave Horton, CES Energy Solutions

The oil and gas industry faces increasing demands to clarify the implications of energy transitions for their operations and business models, and to demonstrate the contributions that they can make to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The challenge for the oil and gas industry is to both engage and adapt to a changing policy and investment landscape, but also to evolve in ways which don’t simply support but contribute and perhaps even lead efforts toward carbon neutrality such as carbon capture, utilization and storage.  Becoming carbon-neutral is not the only challenge this industry is dealing with.  With oil-price volatility particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, companies are actively looking to optimize their business in order to reduce costs and increase profitability across their core functions including upstream, midstream and downstream operations.  With funding already constrained in the traditional oil and gas markets and continued investment substantially now flowing to projects and companies with robust and materially relevant ESG practices, there is a significant push towards the ways to improve sustainability benchmarks.

While there have been significant efforts over the past 20 years to develop new commercial processes to bio-based and renewable as platform molecules, there have not been as many advances in water reuse.  The oilfield chemistry industry has increasingly sought to increase the volume of fracturing fluid water that is reused—given that between 1.5 and 16 million of gallons of water are used per well.  As much of this water is from fresh water sources and is ultimately removed from the geosphere through deep-well injection, it would be a considerable sustainability advance to recycle even a portion of the water used in hydraulic fracturing.  However, the technical demands of treating and reusing spent hydraulic fracturing fluids when combined with significant differences in the chemical composition of formation waters are considerable.

This session aims to introduce and discuss current advancements in both drilling and hydraulic fracturing water reuse, the chemical and formulation approaches that enable reuse, the post-drilling and fracturing chemical processes required to effectively treat water for reuse, and identify the challenges and opportunities for developing novel chemicals and chemical technologies via biological and/or chemical pathways.


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