Centralized Water-Management Facilities in the Piceance Basin
- Chris Carpenter (JPT Technology Editor)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- December 2014
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 126 - 129
- 2014. Society of Petroleum Engineers
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- 70 since 2007
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This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper SPE 169586, "Strategies and Methods for Centralized Water-Management Facilities in the Piceance Basin," by Joseph J. Lobato, SPE, WPX Energy Rocky Mountain, and Gary Zolnosky, Chem Treat, prepared for the 2014 SPE Western North American and Rocky Mountain Joint Regional Meeting, Denver, 16-18 April. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
The Piceance basin in western Colorado is a long-term play expected to produce for another 20 years or more. Given this extended time horizon, the operator implemented a permanent and centralized water-management infrastructure to control costs and improve profitability. The role of the centralized water-management facility (CWMF) is to treat water produced from natural-gas wells; recover oil and condensate; operate within federal, state, and county regulations; and consistently provide high-quality treated water for hydraulic-fracturing operations and disposal.
Properly designed, implemented, and operated water-management facilities (WMFs) provide the means for controlling water-movement costs. WMFs also allow for predictable operations and provide a consistent high-quality water product on demand for hydraulic fracturing. Three types of WMFs will be discussed in this paper (these can be permanent or temporary):
- Centralized pumping stations for water transfer
- Centralized water-treatment facilities
Once it is determined that a facility is needed, the decision to build a permanent or a temporary facility is driven primarily by economics. The operator needs to complete an economic analysis comparing the total cost of building a permanent facility with the cost of using contract services and rented equipment to accommodate the business need. For a discussion of cost analysis in this context, please see the complete paper.
Pipeline Facilities and Infrastructure
Once the boundaries of the natural-gas-producing zones are established, the operator needs to plan and build pipeline infrastructure and begin the transition away from water hauling. Drilling and completing multiwell pads require high-volume, efficient, and cost- effective water movement. In the Piceance basin, operators use a technique called remote fracturing in which the equipment for completions is set up on one pad and all the well pads within a 3.5-mile radius are fractured from that single pad (Fig. 1). The remote-fracturing pad and surrounding well-pad arrangement are designated a centralized plan of development (CPOD).
Pipeline Planning and Development
In the Piceance basin, the most efficient way to move water for hydraulic fracturing and flowback is to build a water-pipeline loop through and around the area to be developed. In Fig. 2, two water-line loops are shown with a CWMF located between each loop. CPODs will be planned all around the loop; storage pits and transfer pumps can be installed and tied in anywhere around the loop, as needed. Water can flow in either direction around the loop. Use of 10-in.- inner-diameter or larger polyvinyl chloride pipe in the loop infrastructure will allow water-flow rates in the range of 25 to 50 bbl/min to and from the CPOD and remote-fracturing pad. With this high flow rate, wells can be completed very efficiently, with no water-delivery delays, and the number of water-storage tanks on the pad is reduced greatly.
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