Stone Soup

Shale Oil & Gas
Oral Presentation

Prepared by R. Hall
NGL Energy Partners, po box 697, Manor, Pennsylvania, 15665, United States

Contact Information: [email protected]; 17242897475


In the folk story an entire community enjoys a feast as a result of individual contributions. Produced water may be best described as a literal soup of stone, a well seasoned broth simmered low and slow for a few million years. Due to increasing seismic issues, water scarcity and a changing approach to energy we must take a critical look at how this water is managed. In order to do this we are going to need contributions from individual industry sectors. This talk focuses on opportunities for environmental testing relating to Shale Oil and Gas. Specifically, water reclamation and mineral recovery.

West Texas and New Mexico are some of the most water starved regions of the country. In every barrel of Permian basin produced water resides over 20 gallons of usable fresh water. Recently the TCEQ took over primacy regulating discharge of treated water from oil and gas operations. Concurrently New Mexico is working towards a framework to regulate treated produced water. Both of these efforts will require robust characterization of raw produced water influents. Work needs to be done on disinfection byproducts and addressing concerns around unknown organics.

Produced waters have long been looked at as potential sources of rare earth elements, conflict minerals and precursors to hydrochloric acid and sodium hydroxide. Successful harvest to date has been a mixed bag. This is largely due to poor upfront characterization of complex and variable influents resulting in ineffective process design. Bench scale treatability testing offers a way to create subsamples from various parts of the process. Results from these subsamples will be used to mass balance a process from influent to all the various effluent streams. This is similar in logic to sediment elutriate or LEAF testing and there is a need for method development around this process.