By Ian Gilson, CFA
Based on the studies and tests done so far PearlH2O has worked up an estimated cost of treating contaminated waste water from oil wells. Using lab scale equipment to measure actual costs of the CLEAN-FRAC equipment and extrapolating the costs of operating PACE equipment in the field OriginOil (OOIL) has reported a cost estimate of $0.025 per gallon treated. This was compared to cost studies using Halliburton's CleanWave process, published in 2011, of $0.04 per gallon treated. The $0.025 per gallon cost did not include any credits for the crude oil recovered.
Based on the removal of 95% to 99% suspended solids, hydrocarbons (oil) and heavy metals (including iron) Halliburton reported the cost as $0.04 per gallon of water treated. This did not include the cost of bacteria removal by Halliburton's Clean-Stream process.
The next step is to build and test a commercial scale system that has been optimized for all processes. It is possible that a PearlH2O commercial system could treat the effluent to a level that allows the water to be reused at 50% of the cost of current processes.
The initial results by PACE Engineering on the separation of oil and water from fracking flowback liquids was a removal 98% of the organic material in one pass (including crude oil), which is substantially more than that removed by conventional methods.
OriginOil had reported on Feb. 28, 2013 that its CLEAN-FRAC water treatment system has successfully completed a field test on a producing well near Bakersfield CA. The water from the well was contaminated with heavy crude oil and drilling residues. The organics in the water was reduced by 99% and suspended solids was reduced by 98%.This test shows that an operator can increase the oil produced and reuse the water, both of which are economic benefits that would offset the cost of the equipment used to clean the water. The CLEAN-FRAC system does not add any chemicals to the effluent.
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