Few things are more costly and wasteful than produced water disposal in the oil and gas industry. Those of us who have tried produced water treatment are all too familiar with how painful this can be.
Gravity separation and chemical treatment in a gunbarrel recovers some of the oil but who knows how much oil is left in the water. Some report 1-5% while other have said they might have 10% of the oil in the water in the winter. That amounts to hundreds of thousands of dollars of oil going to waste every year. Meanwhile, you must spend hundreds of thousands more to an independent saltwater disposal well (SWD) owner or to keep your SWD running.
This may seem like a hopelessly expensive problem, but the good news is it doesn’t have to be this way!
At Nano Gas™ Environmental, we’ve developed and mastered superior produced water treatment technology. Our method uses high concentrations of nanobubbles to recover virtually 100% of hydrocarbons from produced water. It also removes corrosive chemicals and suspended solids from the water so that it’s safe to reuse in the oil recovery process.
Best of all: it’s much faster, less expensive and more effective than treating water in SWDs!
In this post, we’ll explain how our method accomplishes these feats. We’ll also show you how our oil and gas water treatment will benefit you as an efficient and automated solution.
Recover 100% of Oil from Produced Water in Minutes
Produced water is a complex mixture of water, minerals and hydrocarbons. Oil droplets are a small part of this mixture, making them difficult to isolate and extract from the polluted water. Our produced water treatment method solves this problem by chemically and physically altering the produced water with nanobubbles.
Nanobubbles are incredibly small bubbles of gas, each measuring billionths of an inch in diameter. We can inject these bubbles into any liquid to change it from the inside out. Nanobubbles do not readily escape from solutions as larger gas bubbles do. Instead, they can remain in liquids for weeks at a time to complete their transformative work.
We typically use nanobubbles containing nitrogen, which we call Nitro Nano™ Water, to recover oil from produced water. (However, we sometimes employ other types of gas, such as oxygen or air, depending on the chemical composition of the water.)
How Nanobubbles Separate Oil from Produced Water
When added to produced water, nitrogen nanobubbles cause oil to quickly separate from water. The bubbles do this because each contains a weak charge, which pulls the oil droplets away from the water. When enough oil droplets congregate around the nanobubbles, they naturally want to rise to the surface of the water.
The nanobubbles also change the zeta potential, viscosity and density of the solution. These changes lighten the oil by up to 22%. All the oil then naturally floats to the surface of the water where we can easily skim it off the top. We have seen great success doing this even with oil as heavy as 10 API. (The oil returns to its original API over time.)
By changing the viscosity and density of the water, the nanobubbles also cause virtually all the suspended solids to drop to the bottom of the wastewater in minutes. In addition, we have been able to remove as much as 2/3 of the solids that were stuck in oil with this method. Other similar gravity settlement methods often take days or weeks to produce the same results.
Treat Produced Water to Make It Reusable in Oil Recovery
As you might imagine, once the oil rises to the top and the suspended solids drop to the bottom, the produced water that’s left is much cleaner than it was before. We transfer this water to your storage tank so it’s ready for disposal or reuse.
Sometimes this water is clean enough to meet the industry standards for reuse in the oil recovery process. Even if it isn’t, we can still make it that way with additional nanobubble treatment.
We inject this produced water with nanobubbles containing gases like oxygen or air. These perform redox reactions in the water to eliminate corrosive chemicals like hydrogen sulfide and iron sulfide. They also remove chemical oxygen demand from the water. Our oxygen nanobubbles are highly reactive and the most natural and effective option for consuming these types of hazardous chemicals.
As a bonus, removing iron sulfide from the water stops the iron mat buildup at the top of the tank. In turn, this lowers tank maintenance and can save you significantly in the long run!
Once this produced water treatment is complete, the water is completely safe to reuse for hydraulic fracturing, drilling or water flooding. So, rather than having to spend more on fresh water and contribute to the growing water scarcity problem, your company can use or sell the treated water!
Clean the Dirtiest Water Without Clogging
Another way our solution prevents wasting fresh water is with its unique ability to generate nanobubbles in dirty water without clogging.
A typical nanobubble generator has a filter or membrane and requires clean fresh water for nanobubble production. If such a generator were exposed to highly contaminated produced water, it would clog up and stop working as effectively over time. Consequently, most nanobubble generators require frequent membrane or filter cleaning to keep working properly.
Conversely, our production unit does not require fresh water for nanobubble creation because it does not use membranes or filters. Instead, we mechanically create highly effective nanobubbles in the dirtiest water without clogging.
This advantage makes our nanobubble production method the lowest maintenance option for produced water treatment. You won’t have to waste time and resources cleaning your filters or membranes. Instead, it will continuously transform your produced water.
Highly Efficient Compared to Other Treatment Methods
But how can such a tiny bubble make such a huge difference? Is such a tiny solution really cut out to clean the billions of gallons of toxic water oil companies produce every day?
Our nanobubbles can make such a significant difference because we produce them at higher concentrations than any other method. We’ve achieved nanobubble production rates of over two trillion nanobubbles per gallon!
When injected into produced water, these trillions of bubbles don’t all congregate in one place. Because each bubble has a negative electron charge, they naturally repel each other and evenly disperse throughout the solution.
No other produced water treatment technique provides this level of evenly dispersed coverage. The entire solution receives the same highly transformative remediation.
Completely Automated for Your Convenience
Not only have we mastered this produced water management method, but we’ve also automated the technology. Our nanobubble generators are modular and scalable with a standard unit handling up to 15,000 barrels of produced water per day on their own. They come with onboard nitrogen and oxygen generators for continual nanobubble production and run on an external generator or connection to on-site power.
But at Nano Gas™ Environmental, we don’t just give you the equipment and let you figure it out on your own. Doing so would set you up for failure since the equipment requires expert knowledge to be set up properly for the best results. Furthermore, no two companies need the exact same type or concentration of nanobubbles for their produced water needs.
Therefore, our team will come, analyze your produced water and set your unit up with the ideal settings. Once the unit is up and running, you will be able to monitor the results on your computer or smartphone to make sure everything is going well. Our team is available to adjust the system before a breakdown happens.
Better Produced Water Treatment is Possible!
As you can see, when we say we offer the best produced water treatment in the oil and gas industry, we have the science to back it up. Our nanobubbles make virtually 100% of the oil float to the surface so that you can recover every drop and recycle produced water so that you don’t have to waste a thing.
As a result:
- You’ll make more money on all that oil.
- You’ll save more money with all that reusable water.
- Expensive saltwater disposal wells (SWDs) will become less necessary.
- When SWDs are required, nanobubbles reduce the injection pressure.
- Maintenance costs will plummet.
In short, your bottom line will look better than ever before!
Are you interested in this produced water treatment technology for your company? We work with clients throughout the United States, Canada and beyond.