The Oil & Gas industry has come under fire in recent months with a plethora of media coverage on fracking practices and their potential impacts on community water sources. Combined with the BP oil spill disaster, the industry has had its hands full with PR management though ‘fracking’ is the hot-button issue to date. Media coverage of methane contamination in Pennsylvania drinking water sources due to shale gas production has been widely cited. Regulatory agencies, as a result, have been mobilized to look into the issue.
Whether the methane contamination is due to the drilling (specifically well construction) or the fracking process (i.e. the injection of chemicals down drilled wells) the debate and conversation will likely rage on. All the same, like many other heavy water use industries, Oil & Gas has its specific water challenges and we here at the Cleantech Group are noting the emergence of technology vendors with specific treatment solutions for this sector.
According to Les Merrill, VP of Project Development at Utah-based 212 Resources, “At 212 Resources we see our solution as enabling natural gas production to help regions with energy needs.” (212 refers to the boiling point of water in degrees Fahrenheit at sea level, which pays homage to the company’s distillation based technology.) Not involved in drilling or fracking directly, 212 provides on-site treatment solutions to address drill site water challenges, which are twofold:
First, drilling and fracking require water resources that could compete with residential and environmental water interests. According to Merrill, however, the industry is perceived to require large amounts of water withdrawals per BTU extracted. According to a forthcoming industry report, it only requires 10 Gallons of water to produce 1 Million BTU’s of shale gas.
Second, the resultant cocktail of contaminants of produced or waste water from the extraction process requires bullet-proof, regulatory compliant treatment. Equally important is the need for such solutions to clearly articulate the financial business value to clients.
212 Resources, owns and operates proprietary distillation based technologies that are transportable to drill sites. The processing units or PODs compliment the main disposal methods of produced or flowback water: either down hole injection and or pit evaporation.
Merrill indicates that the PODs can deliver pure, distilled water from the flowback that can then be re-used on site. Ultimately this will mitigate the need for further withdrawals as well as eliminate the transportation and disposal costs of the wastewater.
The 212 process aims to eliminate emissions to the air as well, moving to contained systems as shown in the photo above. The wastewater enters a water treatment process flow that not only produces high quality distilled water but also recovers alcohols and soluble organics (an enabling technology, which the company has patented). The other discharge stream is saturated brine – a resource that could serve as a potential revenue stream. The system is able to concentrate up to 250,000 parts per million or higher depending on the chemical composition. As a comparison, other technologies require pre-processing utilizing chemicals and have difficulties with high concentrations.
With over 3 years operating experience in the drilling fields of Colorado and Wyoming, 212 Resources now has multiple operations (in the range of 0-10 installations).
The company operates on a performance-based model for clients providing the equipment, services and engineering expertise. “We’ll go in with a fairly substantial commitment for our process – if we don’t operate we don’t get paid,” Merrill says.
“Our process enables natural gas production in vast areas within North America, and throughout the World. That is our mission. It has been our experience that the operators we work with generally live in the areas where they work and are some of the fiercest environmentalists I know. Plus, they too are conscious that we live in a world where economic sources of energy are critical.”
Stay tuned for more updates on 212 Resources.
Mia Javier is a senior analyst at Cleantech Group.
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