Produced Water (brine) management is a significant factor in the profitability of oil and gas production. About 21 billion barrels of water produced every year may contain dissolved and dispersed oil compounds, formation minerals, production chemicals, production solids, and/or dissolved gases. Due to high salinity and contamination these waters cannot be used for domestic, industrial, or agricultural purposes nor they can be disposed into surface waters. Therefore, dewatering of these brines for production of freshwater can be a beneficial option. While conventional reverse osmosis (RO) is not suitable for treating high Salinity brines the thermal technologies are relatively expensive and have low efficiency. Osmotically assisted reverse osmosis (OARO, a newly developed membrane technology) has potential to circumvent these limitations. In OARO, osmotic pressure difference across the membrane is engineered by using a low salinity sweep solution on the permeate side for an efficient and economical dewatering of the high salinity brines. The presentation will highlight a review of commercially available desalination technologies, composition of Marcellus shale brines, and the guideline to design OARO membranes.
AECOM/National Energy Technology Laboratory
Jason Arena, Alexandra Hakala, Nicholas Siefert , NETL, Pittsburgh, PA