" The things which have the greatest value in use have frequently little or no value in exchange; and on the contrary, those which have the greatest value in exchange have frequently little or no value in use. Nothing is more useful than water: but it will purchase scarce anything; scarce anything can be had in exchange for it."
- Adam Smith.
This publication assesses the impacts of water—both as a much needed resource for production, and in the post production phase (as produced water)—on unconventional resourse production; and the costs and benefits in re-using produced water. Treating produced waters is not without its challenges: this publication discusses some of them, more specifically pertaining to shale gas flowback. It also provides an overview of available produced water treatment technologies. A case study of chemical precipitation/clarification for a unconventional producing site will conclude this publication.
In unconventional resource development, water is often a greater asset than liability. Large quantities of water are constantly in play: it is, on one hand, required to stimulate unconventional resource production, on the other hand, being produced (as the result of such production). Examples of water-intensive unconventional-resource production include shale gas, shale oil, tight oil, cool-bed methane and enhanced oil recovery process (such as water flood). Therefore, good management and treatment of the waters associated with unconventional resource development can reduce costs, and enable greater production via increased reservoir compatibility, improved public and regulatory relations, and reduced complications with production equipment and logistics. Over the past decade, many types of unconventional produced water treatment technologies have been trialed and tested. This publication will analyze the benefits of re-using produced water, provide an example of an unconventioal produced water re-use technology (specifically shale gas flowback), and its associated case study.