Water Reuse in a Remote Area

Well Site Supervisor inspecting media filter vessels
A Well Site Supervisor inspecting media filter vessels.

The water requirements for our planned well program in the Montney play of the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin required a sustainable long-term solution for sourcing water. Options are limited due to local water availability, seasonal changes, transportation logistics, cost, and stakeholder concerns. Produced water disposal options are also limited. During exploration, the amount of water that returned to the surface with production was substantial, which presented an opportunity to recycle the produced water for new well completions.

Based on learnings from water management projects in the U.S. Permian, Bakken and Eagle Ford development areas and a 2016 water treatment pilot at Montney, we decided that a closed loop water hub would be the most effective water management system. The water hub will maximize water recycling by treating and storing produced water for reuse in completions and significantly reduce the amount of fresh water required for the development. This will also improve cost and safety by eliminating water trucks and the need for large amounts of disposal. Our engagement with key stakeholders, including government regulators and First Nations reinforced that maximizing water recycling for reuse in completions was the best solution for the environment and sustainability.

Pipeline infrastructure and a central processing facility are key components of the closed loop system. Water is piped from a year-round sustainable river source into the hub where it is combined with recycled produced water and piped to the well pad for completion activities. Once water is being produced from the well, it is then piped to the processing facility for de-oiling, iron and solids removal, and clarification. The treated water is then stored in ponds with engineered liners and environmental monitoring to ensure ongoing containment and potential future re-use. As more wells are brought into production and produced water for recycling increases, the amount of fresh make-up water required for ongoing operations is reduced.