Official Sees Cost as Biggest Barrier for Water Treatment Companies

Fairmont Brine Processing LLC is seeking to site and build a facility in Oklahoma, and already has salt contracts in place for both sodium and calcium chloride. Fairmont President Brian Kalt told Rigzone the company is looking for a spot that makes geographic sense for the operator or operators that will use the facility.

“Ideally, we would site the facility that could be tied in to piping infrastructure, eliminating the need to move water by truck,” Kalt said.

Kalt said that Fairmont’s patented process, which has been used for years to treat Marcellus produced water, can treat water up to 300,000 milligrams per liter (mg/L) total dissolved solids (TDS) for $1.50/barrel. This can compete with deep well injection. The company takes produced and flowback water, and produces distilled water by using a crystallization process. This was can be reused in oil and gas operations or for agriculture and can also be discharged to a body of water under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 500 mg/L TDS discharge standards.

An American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) grade dry sodium chloride also is produced in this process. This salt can be used to de-ice roads, water softening application, pool salt, animal feed, and chemical manufacturing, Kalt explained. Both liquid and dry ASTM grade calcium chloride also is produced in the water treatment process.

In Kalt’s view, the biggest roadblock for water treatment companies entering Oklahoma is that producers are being sued for their perceived involvement in induced seismicity related to deep well injection. Given that companies have spent millions on infrastructure and deep injection wells, Kalt said they might view using alternative technologies as admitting culpability to the problem.

“It’s strictly the cost,” said Kalt. “They’re all for an alternative, but it must compete with the current method.”

Karen Boman has more than 10 years of experience covering the upstream oil and gas sector. Email Karen at kboman@rigzone.com

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