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An Integrated Approach to Mobile Treatment of Flowback Water from Shale Gas Production
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Advancements in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing technologies and methods have resulted in tight shale formations becoming viable for oil and gas production. A necessary resource for any hydraulic fracturing project is fresh water to form the fracturing fluid. Most of the used water is discharged in the form of a flowback wastewater. In principle, the flowback wastewater can be treated and reused to reduce freshwater consumption. The objective of this research is to develop a framework for the logistics and scheduling of a mobile treatment system for multiple producing wells. Several treatment technologies were studied, including coagulation/ultrafiltration, lime softening, and membrane treatment. In order to perform a case study on Marcellus well data, thermal membrane distillation technology (TMD) was chosen due to its modularity and compatibility for use in a mobile rig. An optimization approach was used in order to determine the number of membrane units needed at each well for each of the twenty-eight days. Results show that the use of TMD for flowback treatment is economically competitive with conventional disposal methods. The application of this framework can be scaled to any number of wells, allowing for efficient and accurate allocation of mobile units to meet desired treatment thresholds.
Hughes III, William Travis (2017). An Integrated Approach to Mobile Treatment of Flowback Water from Shale Gas Production. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from