Produced water is naturally occurring water that is produced as a byproduct during the exploration and production of oil and natural gas from the subsurface system. Produced water brought to the surface contains high saline content and may also contain Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM). Therefore, the efficient treatment, use, and disposal of produced water remain a critical issue for the energy industry with environmental and human health implications. Over the years, researchers have presented numerous treatment technologies ranging from physical, chemical, and biological perspectives. Some industries have combined one or two of these methods to improve the treatment quality of produced water required for distinct purposes, and these practices have been extended to the energy industry. As the energy industry strives to sustain production capacities and maintain or increase profitability in this energy-transition era, water production is also rising while there is a reduction in its re-purposing and utilization for energy and environmental industries. Our study focuses on over 100 studies conducted over the past five decades. This study presents a comprehensive overview of the produced treatment methods, challenges regarding the execution and implementation of these methods in the energy industry. We highlight the important fundamental questions that are yet to be addressed and propose new directions for more environmentally friendly and economically viable solutions for the treatment and use of produced water.

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