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Suggested Citation:"Appendix F: Glossary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Flowback and Produced Waters: Opportunities and Challenges for Innovation: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24620.
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Appendix F

Glossary

Acid-base generation: A process where sodium and chloride in salt brine are separated into a sodium ion and a chloride ion. The water is disassociated into a hydrogen ion and a hydroxyl ion. When combined, this yields hydrochloric acid and sodium hydroxide. The recovery of HCl and NaOH may be a valuable source of chemicals (Ibáñez et al., 2013).

Biological active filtration: Removes contaminants by biodegradation, adsorption of pollutants, and filtration of the suspended solids (EPA, n.d.).

Brackish water: Salty water with a total dissolved solids concentration between 1,000 and 10,000 milligrams per liter (NGWA, 2010).

Crosslinked gels: Used in hydraulic fracturing and help transport proppant and increase viscosity (Halliburton, 2013).

Dewatering: A process that allows water or condensate-rich, hydrocarbon-containing reservoirs to be produced for their gas or oil through the removal water (Chesapeake Energy Corporation, 2009).

Disposal well: Primary management practice for produced water from oil and gas wells that use hydraulic fracturing (Veil, 2015).

Electrocoagulation: Process that applies an electrical current to a solution to treat and coagulate particles. It is a water treatment process that can be used in the oil and gas industry, construction, and mining industries (Martin, 2014).

Evaporation pits: Used to contain produced water, which evaporates into the atmosphere (Kuwuyama et al., 2015).

Flowback water: After the hydraulic fracture procedure is completed, the injected fluid is allowed to flow back into the well, leaving the proppant in the newly created fractures. As a result, a portion of the injected water returns to the surface and this water is called flowback water, which initially may mix with the naturally occurring produced water from the formation (Veil, 2015).

Foam-based fluids: Fracturing fluids composed mostly of water with added foam to help stimulate shallow low-pressure zones (Gallegos and Varela, 2015; SPE International, 2016).

Gel-based fluids: Fracturing fluids that are water based with added gels to increase viscosity, which helps fluid transport (EPA, 2015).

Suggested Citation:"Appendix F: Glossary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Flowback and Produced Waters: Opportunities and Challenges for Innovation: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24620.
×

Hydraulic fracturing: A controlled, high-pressure injection of fluid and proppant into a well to generate fractures in the rock formation containing the oil or gas. “It is a stimulation technique used to increase production of oil and gas” (EPA, 2015).

Induced seismicity: “Induced seismicity associated with fluid injection or withdrawal is caused in most cases by change in pore fluid pressure and/or change in stress in the subsurface in the presence of faults with specific properties and orientations and a critical state of stress in the rocks” (NRC, 2013, p. 1).

Membrane bioreactors: A suspended growth-activated system that uses membranes for solid and liquid separation (Chapman et al., n.d.).

Membrane distillation: A thermal driven process that uses the difference in vapor pressure to pass water through a membrane to remove nonvolatile components in the inflow water (Camacho et al., 2013).

Nanofiltration: A membrane filtration process that uses nanometer-sized pores in membranes to help filter out pollutants (Shon et al., 2013).

One Water: A concept that all water sources are “managed holistically and collaboratively to meet the public, environmental, and economic needs for these sources” (Water Research Foundation, 2015, p. 1).

Percolation pits: Used to dispose of waste liquids via drainage or seepage through pits into surrounding soils (Kuwayama et al., 2015).

Plasma arc generation or plasma gasification: A process that converts organic matter into a gas and this gas can be used to generate power. Plasma is an ionized gas and plasma torches and arcs convert energy into heat (GSTC, n.d.).

Produced water: Water from underground formations that is brought to the surface during oil and gas production (Veil, 2015).

Proppant: Sand or ceramics that help keep hydraulic fractures open after fluid injection is completed. The injected fluid can comprise water and small amounts of chemical additives that reduce friction in the pipe and help carry the proppant into the fractures (King, 2012; NRC, 2013, 2014).

Recycle: Water recycling can include the treatment of water and using that treated water for a different use. Examples of beneficial purposes include agriculture, industry, and replenishing groundwater (EPA, 2016b).

Reuse: Water reuse is the treatment of water and reusing that treated water for a secondary beneficial use. The terms “reuse” and “recycled” are often used interchangeably (EPA, 2012; WateReuse, n.d.).

Slickwater: A type of fracturing fluid that contains a friction reducer (HexionFracline, 2012).

Tight oil: Conventional oil found within reservoirs with low permeability (CSUR, 2016).

Ultrafiltration: A type of pressure-driven membrane filtration process (Cheryan, 1998).

Unconventional well: A well where oil and gas is extracted using hydraulic fracturing. Fracturing is needed to extract economic quantities of oil and gas (EPA, 2015).

Use: As defined in these proceedings, refers to one or more subsequent applications of produced water (usually after some treatment) following their return to the surface.

Vacuum distillation: “Distillation under reduced pressure (less the atmospheric) which lowers the boiling temperature of the liquid being distilled. This technique with its relatively low temperatures prevents cracking or decomposition of the charge stock” (DOE, n.d.).

Water consumption: Volume of water removed from a source and not returned back to that source (WRI, 2013).

Water withdrawal: Volume of water removed from a source, i.e., groundwater, and conveyed to a place of use (OECD, 2016).

Suggested Citation:"Appendix F: Glossary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Flowback and Produced Waters: Opportunities and Challenges for Innovation: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24620.
×
Page 87
Suggested Citation:"Appendix F: Glossary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Flowback and Produced Waters: Opportunities and Challenges for Innovation: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24620.
×
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Produced water—water from underground formations that is brought to the surface during oil and gas production—is the greatest volume byproduct associated with oil and gas production. It is managed by some combination of underground injection, treatment and subsequent use, treatment and discharge, or evaporation, subject to compliance with state and federal regulations. Management of these waters is challenging not only for industry and regulators, but also for landowners and the public because of differences in the quality and quantity of produced water, varying infrastructure needs, costs, and environmental considerations associated with produced water disposal, storage, and transport.

Unconventional oil and gas development involves technologies that combine horizontal drilling with the practice of hydraulic fracturing. Hydraulic fracturing is a controlled, high-pressure injection of fluid and proppant into a well to generate fractures in the rock formation containing the oil or gas. After the hydraulic fracture procedure is completed, the injected fluid is allowed to flow back into the well, leaving the proppant in the newly created fractures. As a result, a portion of the injected water returns to the surface and this water is called "flowback water" which initially may mix with the naturally occurring produced water from the formation. The chemistry and volume of water returning to the surface from unconventional oil and gas operations thus changes during the lifetime of the well due to the amount of fluid used in the initial stage of well development, the amount of water naturally occurring in the geologic formation, the original water and rock chemistry, the type of hydrocarbon being produced, and the way in which production is conducted. The volume and composition of flowback and produced waters vary with geography, time, and site-specific factors.

A workshop was conducted by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to highlight the challenges and opportunities associated in managing produced water from unconventional hydrocarbon development, and particularly in the area of potential beneficial uses for these waters. This publication summarizes the presentations and discussions from the workshop.

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