We rely on finding innovative solutions through technology applications to reduce business risks and address local community concerns around water resources, treatment and management of produced water. Offshore, we treat produced water to remove dispersed oil prior to discharge, we disinfect seawater used for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) and we remove dissolved solids in water to avoid the buildup of scale. Onshore, we treat produced water or process water to remove certain organics, dissolved solids and dissolved gases like H₂S to avoid the buildup of scale and to enable storage, recycling, discharge or disposal. Innovative water technologies can optimize processes, reduce costs, improve efficiency and reduce potential impact on the environment.
New water technology must be customized and tested by our engineers to ensure it is effective for local water and reservoir conditions. Whether a technology is capable or fit for deployment is expressed as the technology readiness level (TRL). We use nine TRLs, ranging from TRL 1 (paper studies of basic properties) to TRL 9 (multiple production units integrated into operations).
Our Bartlesville Technology Center (BTC) provides scientific, analytical and technical water treatment support, including lab experiments, pilot tests, fluid sampling and demonstration test that evaluates new technologies or qualifies available commercial technologies for produced water treatment and recycling for hydraulic fracturing. The BTC routinely collaborates with the Global Water Sustainability Center (GWSC) on research and feasibility studies to develop new technologies, but most water technology programs focus on evaluating and customizing available commercial technologies through lab and field tests. This process was highlighted as we worked to implement the produced water recycling project in the China Draw area of the Delaware Basin that reduced both the amount of water withdrawn from local sources and the amount of produced water requiring disposal by deep well injection.
Global Water Sustainability Center
Our GWSC in Qatar develops innovative solutions for water management from natural gas and oil operations. Programs focus on providing specialized technical engineering and analytical support to our global operations and Qatargas, conducting applied research to qualify advanced technologies for operations, and organizing outreach activities related to water sustainability. The GWSC manages our Water Solutions Technology Toolbox, an internal technology-sharing website capturing the latest water treatment experience from full-scale operations, field trials and bench tests.
Examples of 2019 technical projects include:
- Specialized quality assurance support to Qatargas related to chemistry of corrosion inhibitors used in LNG operations.
- Evaluating “pressure retarded osmosis”, an advanced membrane technology, as a method of harnessing osmotic energy of highly saline produced water.
- Developing analytical methods for monitoring corrosion inhibitor residual concentrations in North Sea operations.
The GWSC also features a visitor center where students and teachers experience hands-on displays promoting the value of water and conservation. The center promotes water sustainability within Qatar with a variety of local outreach initiatives including a sustainability video competition for students, a debate and discussion forum and various collaborative programs with Kahramaa, the Qatar water and electricity utility. An upgrade of the visitor center to improve the audio-visuals and overall learning experience was carried out in 2019.